Lars Larson

by Greg Meakin

Part One

Conservative radio host Lars Larson stands hovering over a laptop, headset on. He doesn’t sit for a moment. Taking an on-air call from one of his listeners, he delivers conversation with passion, while continuously scanning his show’s inbound emails. He replies to an email or two, while chatting with the listener about politics. Not a wasted moment for this workaholic 59 year old.

Based in Portland Oregon, Larson is hosting a remote radio show at an outdoor equipment and tractor dealer in Longview, Washington. He looks calm, focused, and right at home. He is set up in the showroom of the business, and a score of people watch him, listen to him, and line up for a photo with him.

During commercial breaks, he keeps working. Posing for photos with fans, scooting back to the laptop to check emails, obliging autograph seekers, and answering small-talk questions from bystanders.

Having listened to his show for years, it is my first time meeting Lars personally. I am taken aback the minute I arrive. This is no ordinary radio guy. Not even close.

What radio guy wears a gun on his hip? The laid back plaid shirt and jeans, the easy demeanor on air, and a good ol’ pistol on his belt. He looks like he’d be comfortable in an old episode of Bonanza.

Lars Larson
Photo credit Lars Larson

But he ain’t Ben Cartwright. Lars Larson’s Ponderosa is his radio world, his listeners are his wranglers. As I watch him work, one clear thought comes to mind: This guy is American. Completely and utterly American.

When asked if he was enjoying his visit to the vastly Republican Longview Washington, Larson pauses for a moment, and a slight smile creeps into the conversation. “It’s nice being away from the Lib world of Portland” he quips.

Larson has his code words that give away his political leanings. Lib is liberal, or course. The Daily Fish Wrapper is the Oregonian, an historically left-leaning Portland newspaper. Chicken Noodle News is his lofty journalistic description of CNN.

But what differentiates this “right wing” radio guy from most is his open door to detractors and naysayers. Naysayers always go to the head of the line is a Larson trademark, welcoming spirited on-air debate. His First Amendment Fridays formalize his commitment to hear all points of view, especially naysayers.

He is much more patient with shrill lefty callers than I could ever be, and I have told him so in the many emails I have shared with him over the years.

In Larson’s world, the First Amendment is a priceless treasure unique to the United States of America, and he would take a bullet to protect our personal freedom.

And he wears Second Amendment on his hip!

Lars Larson is a Maslow Award winner because he has reached the mountain top of radio. He has an amazing, role model work ethic, he has reached the pinnacle of his profession, and he loves his family. He hosts his three-hour regional show daily, followed immediately by his national show of the same length. His website is LarsLarson.com.

Having been born a Navy Brat in Taiwan, Larson’s family eventually settled in tiny Tillamook, Oregon. After four-plus decades of radio and television, he has been presented some 70 industry awards, including two Emmys.

So what drives this dude?

… more to come in Part Two




Copyright © 2017 by Greg Meakin


GregMeakin2020@gmail.com

Suicide By Clicks

Why is the Mainstream Media committing seemingly intentional suicide?

By Lary CoppolaScreenshot 2018-02-16 at 11.00.49 AM

On the day this was written, CNN carried no fewer than 16 blatantly anti-Trump headlines on the opening page of its website. MSNBC had restrained itself to a modest nine, and the Huffington Post a mere four. On the other hand, the Fox News web page only had two headlines mildly critical of the President, and several of the Trump stories had companion pieces with equally benign headlines. Now no one politically aware is going to consider this “breaking news” any more than considering the stories themselves realistically unbiased. However, when viewed as the partisan echo chambers media outlets have intentionally become, they are a reflection of just how polarized we are as a nation.

The Fox News stories could be considered critical of the president, but the headlines didn’t scream hot-button prejudicially negative words like scandal, indicted, sentenced, bribe, torture, risky, red-handed, or chaotic as CNN, MSNBC and the Huffington Post all did on this particular day. And therein lies the conundrum for the consumer of today’s news. Based on such inflammatory headlines, why would you believe the media is actually telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

Which also begs the question, is the President actually right about “Fake News?”

Is there really a concerted effort by the left to drive the President from office, with the mainstream media leading the charge? Exactly how tightly aligned with the Democrats and the extreme left is the mainstream news media anyway —and why? To quote an old tagline from what has always been known as a sensationalist and less than credible news source, “Inquiring minds want to know…”

The long, slow, and painful death spiral of the printed news media is reflective of the age health, and dwindling numbers of its primary readership — Baby Boomers. Like your uncle who lived to see 100, dinosaurs like the Washington Post, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and L.A. Times are still alive – albeit with much weaker, smaller, lower paid staffs..

For the most part, the printed word has been replaced by the internet, replete with news media smartphone apps, its own cult of personalities, and the introduction of the term “infotainment” into our lexicon. It has created online superstars like Jason Zengerle, and Bill Nye the Science Guy on the extreme left, as well as Tomi Lahren and Matt Drudge on the right.

The real question though is, do any of them tell the truth? Yes — all of them, to the extent it fits their politically partisan narrative. The more ethical reporters and bloggers build their stories around a set of facts that underscore their partisan talking points, often leaving out the things that don’t. However, the less than ethical on both sides play fast and loose with facts, giving credence to Trump’s fake news charges.

Journalism 101 teaches that there are six questions every news story must answer: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How? From there, it should be up to the reader to make up his or her mind about the story being told. Journalistic ethics dictate that opinion belongs on OP/ED page – not on the front page and certainly not as a part of any news story. The reporter is supposed to be an unbiased observer, sharing unvarnished facts answering those six questions — and untainted by inflammatory terminology, personal or institutional bias. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Also taught in Journalism 101 is that every news story should have a source and corroborating source — someone who, by name, provides information on the record, and a second source, who by name, confirms what the first source said took place. However, today’s media reporters attribute way too many “facts” to that infamous “anonymous source,” that are corroborated by that “person who declined to be quoted for the record,” and/or, “spoke on the condition of anonymity.” For all we know, these people could be your favorite barista and the guy you called to unclog your toilet.

So obviously, journalistic ethics — along with honest answers to those six basic questions — have seemingly gone the way of the printed word. When was the last time you actually read a mainstream media political news story that wasn’t as much or more opinion than fact? Today perhaps?

The left, led by Democrats like Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and of course, Barack Obama, are feverishly working towards brokering a seemingly peaceful surrender of America to Socialism. In concert with them is not only the media, but the educational establishment as well. They no longer teach actual history, but a revisionist version that vilifies everything that made America that shining light for people from other nations. They don’t teach, as much as indoctrinate liberal philosophy into our children, beginning in Kindergarten.

The recent student march calling for increased gun control and vilifying the NRA for the Parkland tragedy — coupled with relentless media coverage parroting that view — underscore this point. The NRA didn’t kill anyone in Parkland any more than General Motors did when an illegal immigrant drunkenly drove a Chevy into a crowd of children in California. Yet you didn’t hear anything about that from the mainstream media.

Except for right-wing online news sites, there was almost nothing in the mainstream media about the armed School Resource Officer who shot and killed 17 year-old student preparing to shoot up his classmates in Maryland just days after Parkland. And since she wasn’t a white male using an AR-15, you barely heard anything about the Persian leftist, vegan, animal rights activist woman who shot people at YouTube’s headquarters before taking her own life. Since those incidents don’t fit the left’s anti-gun, pro-illegal immigrant, Socialist narrative, they were systematically ignored. But are they any less newsworthy?

Another example of agenda-driven news coverage is the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, nearly two years ago? The media’s narrative was forced to change when new details were revealed during the trial of the shooter Omar Mateen’s wife. While the media repeatedly trumpeted the attack at the gay club as “undeniably a homophobic hate crime”, the actual facts are quite different.

Prosecutors in the case of Mateen’s wife confirm the club wasn’t his original target — it was the nearby Disney Springs shopping plaza. Mateen allegedly asked a security guard at Pulse why there were no women there when he arrived, and suspicions about him being a closet homosexual were never confirmed.

So while the media has framed the attack as an anti-gay hate crime, it’s now become apparent it was more about Islamic-style terror, which Mateen saw as an act of revenge against the U.S. While the motivation doesn’t make the mass shooting any less tragic, it’s just another example of agenda-driven media narratives wildly distorting actual facts. But have you heard this wasn’t a gay hate crime?

Meanwhile, 17-year old David Hogg has become the de-facto spokesman for the anti-NRA crowd, and has publicly — with unrelenting help from the media — called for a boycott of conservative media pundit Laura Ingraham’s Fox News sponsors. The blatant hypocrisy here is that the self-absorbed Hogg wasn’t a student at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School, didn’t witness the tragedy there, and wasn’t anywhere near there when it happened. But the mainstream media won’t tell you that either, and has led you to believe the exact opposite.

Underscoring this bias further, is the fact, the left-leaning website Politico recently published a meticulously researched and fully-sourced investigative piece by Josh Meyer detailing how the Obama administration secretly sabotaged US law enforcement efforts to shut down an international drug-trafficking ring run by the terror group Hezbollah to placate Iran, and ensure the signing of the nuclear deal.

Why wasn’t this front-page news in the NY Times or Washington Post? Why wasn’t this the lead story on CNN or MSNBC? Where’s that George Soros-funded programmed outrage from the left?

Observing the standards set by Journalism 101, this scandal should have ignited a massively widespread firestorm of coverage dwarfing Watergate, and eliciting absolute fury from media pundits and editorial boards alike. But did you hear anything about this? Probably not. However, what you have heard about daily for more than a year and a half is the Russian “collusion” investigation — which in all that time has yet to uncover any actual criminal activity by Trump or his campaign.

In fact, days after the Politico story broke, neither ABC, CBS, or NBC News — who boast a collective 20 million viewers between them — nor CNN or MSNBC, had been able to find time in between harassing Trump about Russia — to report a major story about potential collusion between the former President and a terror-supporting state. Other than Fox, mainstream media outlets largely ignored this major story.

Now take that very same story and change “Obama” to “Trump” and “Iran” to “Russia” and imagine the fireworks those revelations would ignite in the mainstream media. Can’t you already hear Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, Hillary Clinton, et. al. pontificating 24/7 on every TV, online and print news media outlet that Trump should be immediately arrested for treason? But since it was Obama, not a peep from the media, and certainly nothing from the Democrats.

The few outlets that did run this story typically covered it as an afterthought, with headlines like NPR’s which read, “Politico Reporter Says Obama Administration ‘Derailed’ Hezbollah Investigation.” “Derailed” doesn’t even begin to explain the depth of what actually happened. This was a 14,000-word, diligently sourced, document-heavy deep investigative piece written by a well-respected journalist at a major media outlet — one that tends to lean left — complete with all on-the-record sources as per Journalism 101.

However, if your news comes mainly from NPR, you’d never know that. Makes anyone who lived through Watergate wonder where the Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward of today’s media are hiding.

According to Politico, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) began this classified investigation into Hezbollah in 2008, learning that the Iranian proxy had laundered nearly a half a billion dollars and was moving cocaine to the U.S. The Obama administration not only road blocked investigators, but failed to prosecute any of the major players as well.

What makes what can only be described as an intentional media blackout so blatantly reprehensible is that this story is not a partisan hit piece. However, ignoring and/or diminishing intentional wrongdoing and furtively dubious dealings by Obama isn’t at all new. In fact, Obama administration officials arrogantly bragged to the NY Times Magazine how they’d purposefully created an echo chamber, banking on the ignorance, inexperience and partisanship of reporters to communicate their intentional lies to the American people.

Another example of the selective nature of the information you receive from the mainstream media disguised as “news” is the recent Facebook and Cambridge Analytica fiasco. While the media was highly indignant over Cambridge Analytica’s use of 87 million Facebook members’ personal data for Trump’s 2016 campaign, do you recall hearing anything about the Obama campaign being given the exact same kind of data directly from Facebook in 2012? Or Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg saying, “We did it because we liked him (Obama)? Of course not. Again, it doesn’t fit the liberal, anti-Trump narrative.

Facebook has also blatantly censored what content it allows, leaning heavily to the left, while its algorithms filter out most things right of center so you can’t see it – even if your friends post it.

And let’s not ignore Google, which owns YouTube. It also leans far-left, and censors the content it allows. For example, you can find all kinds of pro-Islamic videos — including beheadings, people in cages being burned alive, and handcuffed, blindfolded gays being thrown off tall buildings, as well as other equally barbaric acts. There are also literally hundreds of videos from Planned Parenthood and other liberal organizations. Meanwhile, YouTube has kicked Prager University — a conservative institution which publishes short videos rationally explaining conservative viewpoints on issues of the day — completely off the site. Facebook restricts access to Prager’s videos as well.

So how did we get to this point? The answers could lie in the response to two questions, “Why is the liberal agenda being pushed so hard by the mainstream media?and, “How has the conservative media reacted, and grown so powerful?”

The answers are simple. The extreme left wants America to drift into Socialism, is already deeply entrenched within the bureaucracy, and positioned for permanent control and political advantage when that happens — hence the term “Deep State.” Thanks to the millions of illegal immigrants they have registered to vote, they see the election process keeping them in power.

If you think there is a government elitist class now, just wait. If the left is successful it will get much worse, with ever escalating taxes rewarding that elitist governing class on the backs of the working class. That’s how Socialism has always worked — and why it eventually always fails.

The social justice movement disparages hard work and financial success, demanding that successful people share the fruits of their labors with those “less fortunate.” However, the people who have worked hard to attain that success disagree. Yet the mainstream media continues to vilify them as the evil ones — not those sponging off their hard work.

The business of news today is all about TV and radio ratings, eyeballs, and click-throughs. To get those, reporters need access to the major players, as access is the lifeblood of the news business. Obama understood that better than anyone. He did a masterful job of only granting access to those reporters from news outlets supporting his goals and shutting out all opposing voices. Hence, the echo chamber his administration bragged about creating.

The mainstream media unabashedly defends Socialism because most of its members make their living dependent upon that access and are openly encouraged to support what they may personally believe will eventually be a “fairer’ system. Obviously, they haven’t thought this all the way through to its inevitable conclusion. Socialism always collapses under the weight of supporting an ever-expanding governing class that steals the fruits of the labors of the masses, and de-incentivized workers whose highest standard of excellence atrophies into mediocracy. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher succinctly summed up why Socialism always fails — “At some point you run out of other people’s money.”

It’s no secret the liberal mindset infected the bizarre world of Hollywood long ago, while conservative actors and actresses remain in the proverbial closet for fear of not working. For all the publicity the #MeToo movement generated in the media, there’s no shortage of photos featuring the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Meryl Streep and even Hillary Clinton and others all cuddling up to Harvey Weinstein. You just won’t see them in the mainstream media, because once again, they contradict the narrative.

Professional sports has suffered as well by its embrace of liberal philosophy by athletes and broadcasters alike — former San Francisco 49’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick being their poster child. The media has constantly whined about him not being signed by any NFL team, insisting there is a conspiracy against him for starting the disrespectful take a knee during the National Anthem movement. However, nowhere are you hearing about his team winning only three of the last 19 games he started as quarterback. Again, that doesn’t fit the liberal narrative.

Meanwhile, former Seattle Seahawk Michael Bennett, whose leftist activities were much more vocal and visible in the media, was traded to the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. He’s playing in spite of his politics because unlike Kaepernick, he’s one of the best in the game. If anyone has a case about being discriminated against by the NFL because of his personal beliefs, it’s Tim Tebow. But again, that doesn’t fit the media narrative – nor does the fact TV ratings for the 2017-2018 NFL season were down over 19 percent and ticket sales are at their lowest levels ever. Is there any doubt as to why?

Yet, in spite of the Republicans ongoing political dysfunction, and bunker mentality, the conservative media has grown strong by becoming the primary combatant against the Socialist threat. When was the last time you heard of liberal talk radio? For example, even in ultra-liberal Seattle, two conservative talk radio stations flourish, while the lone liberal one shut down due to low ratings.

Republicans like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bob Corker, Jeff Flake, John Kasich and perhaps even Paul Ryan have themselves become entrenched in the Deep State, and are openly anti-Trump. But conservative local talk radio, conservative TV networks like Fox and the One America Network (OAN), along with the online right-wing media have become the voice of the folks that elected Donald Trump to “drain the swamp.” It has also driven the rise of militant right-wing websites like The Blaze and Brietbart News, as well as the entire alt-right spectrum, turning demagogues like Milos Yiannopoulos into celebrities.

But the bottom line for all of this media hypocrisy is money…

The newspaper business model — display advertising, classifieds and subscriptions is dead and buried. The internet business model is paywalls, interactive ads, click-throughs, and tracking you online and via your smartphone. So driving eyeballs to your website or app is critical because that’s where the money is.

That’s also why inflammatory headlines abound — even for stories unrelated to politics. We’ve all seen them at the bottom of political stories with bold headlines that read, “You won’t believe what your favorite 70’s movie star looks like now.” Or, “Man buys Russian tank off eBay and finds surprise inside.” And “You should never shop on Amazon without using this trick.” People routinely click on those just like they do the anti-Trump or anti-Socialist headlines, even though they have nothing at all to do with the content of the original piece. And each click generates money…

However, much of mainstream America has grown weary of being assaulted by this constant barrage of sensationalist negativity that tracks our every move. Except for those inside the echo chambers on both sides who take partisan talking points as gospel, and adamantly refuse to think for themselves, the mainstream media has lost the trust of the majority of Americans.

Another example of exactly how combative the mainstream media has become towards Trump, the NY Times refuses to list the book, “Killing the Deep State” by Jerome Corsi, on its Best Seller list — in spite of the fact it has outsold everything else on it. Corsi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Obama Nation, The Late Great USA, and Unfit for Command — not exactly a “deplorable.” In the book, he pulls the veil off the Deep State and the powerful agencies behind it — the FBI, CIA, DOJ, NSA, and the Federal Reserve. Yet the Times whined that as long as Trump’s picture is on the book jacket, they’ll refuse to list it. Are they really being that petty, or are they afraid people will actually buy this book and learn that Trump has been right about the Deep State all along — disproving the leftist narrative they’re so heavily invested in editorially?

On the other hand, Trump’s attacks on Amazon are viewed in some quarters as an attempt to send Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos — who also owns the Washington Post — a pointed message that the paper’s coverage of Trump and his administration is unfair and heavily biased.

Either way, the electronic mainstream media is slowly, and seemingly deliberately, going the way of the printed word. While the mainstream media’s audience isn’t dying off like print’s Baby Boomers, the media is slowly but steadily killing them off — one person at a time — as it commits “suicide by clicks.” The bottom line is that the American public is clearly repulsed by the continual and blatant barrage of liberal propaganda being shoved down its collective throat by the news, entertainment and sports media. And more to the point, doing that is driving their audiences away.

Think about it. Do you spend less time on Facebook and other social media now, than you did a year ago? Do you watch less TV news — and less sports — now than you used to? Why? Is it because you’re tired of your intelligence being insulted and your values being disrespected by the liberal opinion being blasted in your face 24/7 in every political “news” story? Or is it simply because pompous, self-righteous twits like David Hogg, and Bill Nye the Science Guy, as well as bloated loudmouths like Rosie O’Donnell, Michael Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, and even Oprah Winfrey have become so unbelievably boring by their continual spew of tired old left-wing drivel? Meanwhile Shawn Hannity and Tucker Carlson’s audiences continue to grow.

So as the mainstream media continues to censor what you see and hear, as well as sell your personal information to anyone willing to pay, how much less time will you be spending there a year from now?

Inquiring minds want to know…

 

1st GregsList Guarantee

Seattle, July 15, 2015

I have been writing for over forty years, but have never written a political piece. Business writing and hockey dad stuff are for the most part non-controversial genres. This year is different. My heart feels compelled – deeply and passionately compelled – to shout out the alarming concern I have for my country, and the direction the government has been taking us for the past few decades.

This is an election cycle where I personally believe the apple cart of politics-as-usual will be upset to a level never conceived by the political correctness crowd, or the staunch proponents of today’s status quo.

I believe the apple cart rolling out the presidential election of 2016 will not only be upset – it will be tossed high in the air like a spinning political pizza.

Thanks to a candidate named Donald Trump.


THE TOP 10 REASONS
DONALD TRUMP WILL BE PRESIDENT



1. He connects directly with the American voter
Donald Trump remembers Reagan Democrats. He also knows the founders of this particular country devised a unique form of government which allows the people, as individual voters, to “hire and fire” good or bad politicians every four years. No matter what the mainstream news media says, no matter what any academic or expert says, no matter what any shrill opponent says, Trump knows that the individual voter in America still has the power to control the political direction of the country. Kind of like cutting out the middle-man and shopping at a warehouse club.

2. He has single-issue power
Jobs. Illegal immigration. National debt. Defeating ISIS. Trump is so outspoken, and so confident in his business approach to these and other challenges (right or wrong) that he has the rare ability to earn votes on single issues. For example, he has said, “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.” Given his business acumen, this boast doesn’t appear to be a stretch, or just superficial political posturing. Regardless of party affiliation, past tendencies, or personal feelings towards him, many voters will simply say, “…and for that reason alone I will vote for Trump.” Single issue.


3. He is a uniter
To listen to the most vocal Trump opponents — including for the most part, the mainstream news media — one might think Donald Trump is perhaps the most divisive candidate in history. To believe his critics and opponents, one might also think he has absolutely no chance of winning the Republican nomination, much less the Presidency. The outlandishly contrarian position here is Mr. Trump is a uniter. When the votes are counted on November 8, 2016 it is my personal belief the numbers will indicate Donald Trump actually united us as Americans. The tally will confirm he united the Silent Majority; united the average workers of the country, including LEGAL immigrants; united voters who are fed up with politics as usual; united people who have had enough of political correctness; united the forgotten minorities who believe in capitalism and the American Dream; united women who believe Hillary Clinton and today’s feminist movement do not represent their views; united the military and its mission; and yes, united all of us who are simply frustrated with being silenced, minimized, disenfranchised, and shouted down during the last eight years.

4. His over-achieving family
Presidential families have been, and will be, forever scrutinized. Such is the nature of being in the public eye, and the gossipy nature of both many humans and today’s media. Anyone who has followed Trump over the years knows that he has always advocated a life of hard work and clean living to his family, and anyone else who will listen. He rails against alcohol, tobacco, and the use of drugs — the usual suspects of indulgence and under-achievement. In addition to health benefits, Trump believes if you are not shackled with time and energy-consuming bad habits, your time and energy can be focused upon more positive pursuits, such as work, family, hobbies or sports. Review the bios of his offspring, and even his critics and nepotism finger-pointers can agree the Trump family is indeed a hard working, highly successful family.

5. He’s thrives on criticism
Criticism allows Trump to engage his detractors publicly, which he loves the challenge of doing. In this Twitter Age, criticism (deserved or not) can go around the world instantly — you know, that “viral” thing. Trump, the consummate marketer, embraces the old adage that “any press is good press.” To stay in the news daily deprives competitors of the same airtime, a definitive strategy where opponents of both parties find it difficult to even be acknowledged, much less be heard. As importantly, with the evolution of social media and explosion of online conversations, this is a wholly unique era where the ordinary American can speak one’s mind publicly, free of censorship. There is the opportunity for real-time rebuttal to most news stories today, which is a secret weapon of the Donald Trumps, and other brand guys of the world. I have followed the online conversations from the beginning, and am still amazed at the support Donald Trump receives, especially with rebuttals to negative stories.


6. He is the only Republican who can take millions of votes from Hillary
As with Reagan Democrats, come election day, the rubber meets the road inside the American voting booth, where the secret ballot is the true voice of every American. If I were managing the Hillary Clinton campaign, I would not only be concerned about a Donald Trump presidential ticket — I would be petrified. One of the largest obstacles the average Republican has faced in recent years is the wildly successful demonization of their brand and beliefs by Democrats. Indeed, anyone who honestly believes the average Republican is filled with hate and bigotry, has simply embraced this Democrat marketing message. Unfortunately for Democratic strategists this time around, a savvy marketer like Trump will not be defeated by simple, broad-brush vitriol.


7. He is a New York businessman
Whether or not you love New York, it is the world’s business capital, and where Donald Trump cut his entrepreneurial teeth – not inside the Washington beltway. New York has more influence than the Pope, and more money than God. (That is a joke, folks). In the aftermath of September 11th, much of the civilized world became New Yorkers for a time. Whether you are a Trump lover or hater, he is New York and all it represents. There should be a photo of Donald Trump in the encyclopedia under the term, “Epitomizes New York; A true New Yorker; Spokesman and poster child for New York capitalism.” If any voter prefers a Washington outsider in this election cycle, where more appropriate a place to spawn a president who promises to run the country like a business.

8. He loves America and lives the American Dream
My favorite president was Ronald Reagan. I loved his patriotism. I loved his passion for America. I loved his optimism. Say what you will about the Reagan years, pro or con, it is clear that he passionately loved this country. Reagan reignited patriotism in the early 80s. That is, he led the bandwagon of patriotism and civic pride for an America that was reeling with self-doubt from the cynical 60s, and burnout from the yawning, depressing Carter years. With Donald Trump, some parallels to Reagan’s brand are remarkable, especially his direct appeal and connection to the average voter. Love him, hate him, laugh at his hair, scream at his loud mouth, there is one thing that is crystal clear: Donald Trump loves America. He is a New York capitalist – not a euro-internationalist – and not the least bit ashamed of it. Trump understands the 1776 Great American Experiment of individual freedom and capitalism can be swallowed up by socialistic internationalism and New Age revisionism in a heartbeat.


9. The Democrats now have a track record
Regardless of how the current administration’s record is spun by political operatives and media talking heads from the right or left, what is now tangible is eight years of performance by a Democratic President. The same applies to the Hillary Clinton years as a Democratic Secretary of State. Recalling Barack Obama as a campaigner in 2007, he had the benefit of no actual track record. Just like Governor George W. Bush in the late nineties. It is much easier to be a new, untested candidate, than one who has an eight year record to tout — or defend. One luxury Hillary Clinton may NOT have in this political cycle is a free pass from the media, should she proffer speculative, utopian plans, such as then candidate Obama touting he would quickly stabilize the Middle East and North Korea, and have a transparent administration.


10.
He is ratings gold
Donald Trump gets ratings. He enjoys enormous name and brand recognition worldwide. Ratings mean attention, and attention means money. No matter how provocative, he is an interesting fellow, which of course is the bread-and-butter of media ratings. The very definition of “provocative” means one provokes. Whether or not anyone saw this coming, Mr. Trump’s candidacy, coupled with his controversial words and bombastic personal style, has provoked a spirited national conversation which, in the end, means ratings. If it comes down to a televised presidential debate, is there anyone who would not tune in to watch Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump? I’m thinking ratings on steroids.

________________________________________________________________
© Copyright 2015 by Greg Meakin

Greg Meakin is a Seattle businessman and freelance writer. Email him at gregmeakin2020@gmail.com or visit his website at www.gregmeakin.com

ANTHONY CALVILLO

Greg Meakin’s
MASLOW AWARD

A Maslow Award is my own creation, and formally honors individuals I have personally met who have greatly inspired me, and in some cases changed my life. I have always had an obsession with excellence, and this is my way to identify and applaud these truly elite people, and to hopefully pay tribute in an insightful and personal way.

These tributes I write are not just meant to recognize incredible achievement. I also hope they encourage younger people to watch and learn from these individuals; to recognize and chase their own personal dreams and goals in life – regardless of how lofty or “unlikely” those dreams might appear. The active, daily pursuit of a happy and fulfilled life is the rallying cry to youngsters here, and us youngsters at heart :

Keep striving for the top of your pyramid in life, whatever that may be. It’s so cool when you reach it.

A common trait I’ve discovered about these “Maslow” individuals, is they had no idea when they were growing up just how successful they would become, never mind the top of the pyramid of success and happiness. This is so important to realize. They just continued climbing the ladder of life, and did not quit along the way.

A Maslow Award winner must have indeed reached the very, very top of his or her field. A winner can also be a team, like the 1972 Miami Dolphins, or even a non-human champion, like Secretariat. Or, as with the less famous I will write about in the future, they have overcome a virtually impossible obstacle in life, and still reached the top.

So, Greg Meakin’s message here is especially for Millennials, and the upcoming Generation-Zs:

Reach for the stars everyday. Don’t give up. And most importantly, question everything, and don’t follow the crowd. Never give up on love, happiness, or success. That’s all, really. That’s all any of us need.”

And, the winner is


ANTHONY CALVILLO
Anthony Calvillo photo credit thestar.com V2.jpg
I have yet to meet an American who even knows the name Anthony Calvillo. And only the rare American journalist, like ESPN’s Chris Berman, knows his name. Matter of fact, Berman correctly acknowledges Calvillo as the top passing quarterback in the history of professional football. Number One. Just ahead of that Peyton Manning fellow.

And I don’t care if it’s Pop Warner football, throwing for more yards than Peyton Manning is a bunch of yards.

In 2011, Berman devoted his 2-minute drill segment to Anthony Calvillo, recognizing him as having surpassed Brett Favre at the time, and describing him as a “Montreal civic treasure.” The video, full of classic Chris Berman Quebecois schtick, is still on YouTube, and is worth a watch. Especially for you America dudes who think you’re really, really smart about football.

Watch two-minute video here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZozDXcyg8MA

Yes, Anthony Calvillo is the top passing quarterback in the history of professional football, with 79,816 yards. I love cold, hard statistics, and that number is absolutely ridiculous. Just a few more tosses to Cahoon and you’d hit 80,000 yards? Are you kidding?

I didn’t realize Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas had such paltry 40,000-yard careers.

This combined with a 20-YEAR career (a pro football Old Folks Club with only a handful of members with names like Blanda) definitely drives Calvillo into Maslow territory.

(And in this conversation, I have no desire to debate the purist NFL fans about the merits of the CFL. Not the place, and not relevant. This piece is about excellence, and the featured gentleman here is the poster-child for pure and utter excellence).

Anthony Calvillo, for a big bucket full of reasons other than gridiron exploits, is the prototype of what I call a complete Maslow guy.

Obviously, I deeply admire Mr. Calvillo, but not just from watching him play for my Montreal Alouettes. Indeed, having moved to the Seattle area in 1983, and becoming one of those crazy Seahawks fans, I just didn’t follow Canadian football that much anymore. I watched the odd game and a few Grey Cups on TV, but not to the extent of the good ol’ Johnny Rodgers, Marv Levy, Mark Kosmos days I

followed so rabidly in the ’70s.Anthony Calvillo photo credit NBC Sports.jpg

To get the feel of this quarterback’s impact on the city of Montreal, I relied on my brother, and my old football buddies back there. Much like the love Seattle has for Russell Wilson, all raved about Anthony Calvillo. My pals had endless kudos about his play on the field, of course, but what always seemed to be brought up was his manhood and class off the field. Especially with his family, and devotion to charitable causes. The ultimate Role Model, in an age where they are so needed.

His career success is incredible. He is statistically the best-of-the-best in Canadian football, and with three championship rings, he was a first round CFL Hall of Famer – and also a first round Maslow Award winner, of course!

But Maslow winners stand much taller than just numbers and awards. Where my personal admiration of this man really came into focus was only a few years ago. My brother Bob, sadly and suddenly was stricken with pancreatic cancer. He was blessed to have spent his last days in comfort at an amazing facility, West Island Palliative Care in Pointe Claire, Quebec.

Bob lived for football, almost from birth, and his eyes flew open with disbelief when he watched Anthony Calvillo stroll into his room that afternoon. It was just, “Hi Bob,” from Anthony. The hour he quietly spent with my brother, later presenting him with an autographed football and handwritten personal message, melted my heart. Those of us who witnessed this man’s warmth towards my brother that day were completely moved.

Afterward, I was able to visit with him and meet his gracious wife, Alexia, and two wonderful daughters, Athena and Olivia. He is a proud papa, and is thrilled his girls are growing up bilingual. He loves multicultural Montreal, and plans to continue raising his family there. I told him I was surprised he wasn’t returning to the U.S. to spend his retirement, especially having been a California kid.

But, I guess it is a living testament of his love for Montreal, and Montreal’s love for him.

I took him aside in the lobby, and thanked him for spending time with my brother the way he did. I relayed that Bob was thrilled, and deeply honored to have him visit.

This is where Anthony Calvillo took a moment and said quietly, “The honour was mine.”

Not to be mushy here, but there was something about that moment I will remember forever. How calmly he said it. How deeply he looked into my eyes. I believed him. I believed he was completely touched in his own heart, just to have been able to make Bob Meakin happy that afternoon. Just for Bob.

I realized then that Anthony Calvillo is a very special guy. I told him I wanted to write about him in the future, especially to introduce him to people who have no idea who he is. His humility, compassion, and gentlemanly demeanor reminded me of another special guy – the late great Jean Beliveau.

In fact, since meeting Anthony, I have described him on blogs as a modern day Jean Beliveau – an incredible sports legend, but also an incredible example of a class act. A true gentleman.

And as a final note here, I so look forward to visiting with Anthony Calvillo in Montreal, for a sit-down interview after the Alouettes season is over. I plan on learning more about what makes this gentleman tick. Also, what I have not discussed this time around, is Anthony’s tough childhood in East L.A., and his and Alexia’s courageous battle with cancer. Those are definitely stand-alone discussions I will write about after the first of the year.

So, trying desperately to not sound too Man-Crushy here, it’s so cool to be scheduling a date with Anthony Calvillo. Just a sports junkie’s dream, perhaps?

Or, maybe just a Writer’s Maslow Moment of my own.

Probably both.


Copyright 2018 Greg Meakin

Anthony Calvillo photo credit Montreal Gazette.jpg

Anthony Calvillo photo credit cbc.ca.jpgAnthony Calvillo photo credit Montreal Alouettes.jpgAnthony Calvillo photo credit thestar.com.jpg

DADITUDES

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DAD-ITUDES

 

by Kevin D. Dunn

“One man’s attitudes, feelings, and experiences of fatherhood & becoming an old kid!!!”

Available on Amazon
$9.99

When I heard my old friend, Kevin Dunn, had published a book about family and fatherhood, I could have jumped for joy. I have known Kevin for decades, and he is a one-in-a-million guy – as a co-worker, a friend, and as a husband and father. We worked together as finance managers in the auto business for years, and indeed became fast friends to this day.

My joy for Kevin here, is for two main reasons:

One, my friend has a highly ambitious, entrepreneurial spirit. He is one of the hardest working and dedicated guys I’ve ever known. To publish a book is a true milestone for any ambitious person, and I was so happy to hear he had accomplished just that.   

Second, he’s one of the most amazing fathers I’ve encountered. He clearly took this book as an opportunity – a golden opportunity to finally lift three decades of marriage and chasing kids off his chest!  

But perhaps most importantly to the reader, Kevin Dunn doesn’t just tell fabulous fatherhood stories (which he does at every turn). He also provides reflection, insight, valuable lessons, and inspiration along the way.

Any new father (or old one for that matter!) needs to read this book.

Not only does Dunn tells endless, entertaining stories about everything from changing diapers to dealing with unruly teenagers, he goes a step further than most anecdotal memoirs. He reflects on each instance, relays his innermost feelings and emotions to the reader – and then offers guidance and practical solutions for dads, or would-be dads.

This is a book that could quietly sit on your coffee table. Whenever you need a break from the craziness of life, you could just pick it up, glance at a page, a chapter, an anecdote. It’s one of those books that you don’t need to plunge in cover-to-cover – you can sit back, enjoy, and remember that you’re not a bad parent after all!

What surprised me the most about Dunn’s work, is its feisty and competitive bent. Having known Kevin all these years, he is a deeply spiritual guy, and, as someone just meeting him would think, he’s pretty straight-laced. But goodness, you might see him differently when reading an account of a crazy kid jumping off his garage roof using a bed sheet parachute, which of course didn’t work. Or the college dorm boxing match where the author bloodied himself in an underdog slug fest against a fierce opponent.

The book had moments where I was glued to the pages – a dramatic, emergency C-Section with his first son, a brutal Triathalon competition where I didn’t know if the author could finish or not, and other struggles of daily life.

Although the book deals with family, and family members, it talks directly to fathers throughout. As lighthearted and inspirational as the pages can be, there is a clear message to fathers. It is a message inspiring strength, patience, understanding, and most of all, belief and hope for a vanishing breed – the traditional father.

In the exhausting, frustrating, and stressful world of fatherhood today, DAD-ITUDES breathes fresh hope. The book whispers words of encouragement to the oft-forgotten head of household in today’s scattered world.  

It whispers, “Keep going. You are awesome.”



Copyright © 2018 by Greg Meakin

 

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Kevin, Darla, four babies and counting!
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Kevin and Darla
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Kevin Dunn Triathlon Guy

 

A Mom’s Story About Illness, Courage, and Love

A MOM’S STORY ABOUT ILLNESS, COURAGE, AND LOVE


The rewarding part of publishing is the feedback from readers. The Comedy section has received enthusiastic response, but a letter I received from a mom in Ottawa deeply moved me. Kristen Thompson sent a letter after reading my story about Jungle Jim Jerome, comedian extraordinaire.

I will let the letter speak for itself. I deeply thank Kristin for this moving story about her wonderful kids, and her feelings about a certain comedian named Jim Jerome.

———————————————–

Greg,  

Loved loved loved your story about the indomitable Jungle Jim Jerome. Although you know Jim as a funny man…I happen to know a much different side of him.

But first, I’ll have to tell you about me and my family, before I can tell you about our relationship with Jim.

My name is Kristen Thompson. I am the wife of one. The mom of two. Our son, Kieran was born with a profoundly rare condition called Bladder and Cloacal Extrophy. This literally means his bladder and part of his bowels were on the outside of his body. It’s a medically complex defect and Kieran has, thus far required 46 trips to the operating room to repair this. Some of those surgeries have lasted more than 24 hours!

To add to this, our only other child, our daughter Merighan, is terminally ill with a very rare metabolic disease called San Filippo syndrome (completely unrelated to what Kieran has). Sadly, this disease is 100% fatal. Merighan is now palliative and requires around the clock care.

To say I’ve spent the greater part of my parenting life, living in and out of a hospital…would perhaps be an understatement. And although we call Ottawa home, our children are treated and cared for at The Hospital for Sick Children, in Toronto.

When Kieran was 11 years old. He was granted a wish. You know the kind…where kids get to choose whatever it is their hearts desire? But Kieran..was different. He chose to DECLINE the wish. When we asked him why…he told us he’d rather “be a giver, instead of a taker”. In his 11 year old mind, he felt it was better to be giving back.

Giving back to the Hospital for Sick Children. Giving back so his surgeon could create a research endowment fund supporting pediatric urology. Because really?? Who EVER cared about pediatric urology? Kieran, that’s who.

Kieran decided he’d like to organize a golf tournament. He’d already played in a few. And Kieran knew exactly who he needed to MC the tournament – a local radio personality named Jim Jerome.

Thus began a prolific relationship between Jungle and Kieran. With Jungle’s help….Kieran has raised nearly $200,000 for urology research. Research that has, in turn, helped to keep Kieran alive.

We are forever indebted to Jim Jerome. He helped to change the arc of a young boy’s future. How many people own that badge of honor? Well…Jim Jerome does.

With kindest regards,


Kristen Thompson
March 2018

 

Jim Jerome
Screenshot 2018-02-16 at 11.19.05 AM

Sally

by Greg Meakin

I have found that all nice companies have their Sally. Sally is the person who runs the company like a Swiss watch, greets customers, and keeps them loyal for life. Sally is the Go-To person who has all the answers – for customers, for vendors, for employees, and for anyone needing help right away.

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There is always a person running these companies, and it ain’t the CEO. It’s Sally.

I had a song playing in my head for most of last week, and I couldn’t remember where I had heard it. It played so much, a few times I had to focus on a different song in order to stop this song from playing in my head. It was one of those.

Only this morning did I realize where that mysterious song came from. It was the On-Hold music for a major bank I was working with. It was a successful, household name bank, been around for decades, wonderful products and services – and it absolutely sucked to work with them.

Yes, it was one of those awful companies you would pay a hefty service fee to not have to receive any service from them.

You just couldn’t contact them. Actually, scratch that. You just couldn’t contact them without being put on hold forty times, and wanting to jump off a bridge after listening to the music loop for the umpteenth time. Really nice On-Hold music though, and I do think that’s why it played in my head for so long. It is clear that management selected its On-Hold music very carefully.  

After hanging around the business world for four decades, I can picture the corporate meeting about their phone process – the comforting music choice for customers holding, the sophisticated phone system that can analyze everything for management, the Focus Group templates and strategic word tracks for the odd time an actual human is forced to answer.   

I have no idea why some of the smartest executives can be so stupid sometimes. Multiple college degrees and you can’t figure out how to answer your phone? I just don’t know anything more stupid than making customers mad at you before you even start doing business with them.

You know, those wandering menus that ask fifteen questions, including your horoscope sign, before you can talk to a person?   

And then when you finally reach a human being, they often transfer you back to the main menu, or tell you to visit online. Oh, those creepy phone trees with the endless snarly branches.  

And then there are other companies. Nice companies.

I say “nice” companies because they clearly have a Sally, the one everyone loves doing business with, and keeps customers coming back.  

Many moons ago, when I was owner and CEO of a busy company with a few dozen employees, my Sally’s name was Denise. She was actually my CFO, but she was indeed a Sally. Denise did everything from the company’s books, to answering phones, to being mom to employees, to working with suppliers, to dealing with me!

But most importantly, everyone loved Denise, and loved the company by proxy. She was the person who people would remember, who people would go to, who people would trust.

I was taught decades ago in management training that the most important employee is often the receptionist. The difference with being greeted by a great receptionist, or a nightmare receptionist, can be the difference between success and failure of the entire company. How a prospective customer interacts with your company for the first time often determines position in the marketplace and actual profitability, never mind just dealing with an annoyed caller or two now and then.

I knew I was dealing with a Sally when I recently called a finance company on a car title issue. It was a situation where a notarized form needed to be produced by the finance company, and faxed to a government licensing agency.

The Sally I dealt with that magical day was a Patty. I knew, and Patty knew, that this was an infrequent request, and that it normally could go through a week-long process or worse. What happened however, was Patty jumped into action and within ten minutes the correct notarized form was produced, and faxed at no charge.

I say “magical day” because I am so used to dealing with lousy companies, and goofy fees for everything. Patty so exceeded my expectations, and cut through any red tape or corporate obstacles facing her, and got the job done for me. Right down to faxing the form, and calling me to pick up the original.

She just got it done, and done quickly. Compared to the stress and nonsense of dealing with so many loser companies today, it was magical moment for me.

I felt enthusiasm and trust for Patty and her company. It was a branding guy’s utopia. I became not just a satisfied customer, I became a stark-raving fan.

Some really smart executives tell me it’s impossible to provide what I call “1950s handshake” service these days. They are way too big is always the excuse – often in fancier, modern words.

Then I tell them about PEMCO insurance in Seattle. Big company. Actually, I don’t dwell on the brand name, although I like it. I remember Mick. And Christine.

Although I personally dislike shopping, or being a consumer of most frivolities these days, now and then I am forced to shop. Like so many don’t like shopping for cars, I can’t stand shopping for insurance. I recently chose to re-tool my household’s insurance, and actually selected an insurance company of which to transfer all my policies. I had worked with this company while I was in the auto industry, and I was ready to make it my new home for personal insurance.

I thought I loved their brand…until I actually tried to do business with them.

Sadly, the company made it just too difficult to work with them from the get-go. Being a military membership organization, my wife and I were put through a family verification process that was more complicated than I would have predicted.

It was a situation where we were military brats of deceased parents, which required a battery of questions. After a few rounds of forwarding birth certificates, and discovering I needed an additional membership step, I gave up and called my second choice, PEMCO.

And after one quick menu question, Mick answered. Mick sold me my requested policies, right on the spot. He then gave me his direct number. Whenever I called Mick, he would answer or call back quickly. It was so weird.

And then, Christine. Christine handled one of my policies through a different department. Just like Mick, she gave me her direct number, and when I call her she answers. Christine is so cool.

This is not a silly Yelp review, it is making a broader point. Is Sally a real person? Sure. Years ago, I developed and managed a call center for Toyota, and there was a Sally who worked for me. Sally was one of the nicest employees I ever had, and as I have described earlier, Sally was the go-to person of the department, and the loving, confident voice on the phone to the customers.

She had all the answers, knew the company backward and forward, didn’t have to fumble through memorized scripts and telephone transferring nonsense. Our customers loved Sally, and usually asked for her personally.

Sally’s demeanor became the example I often shared with managers about what a great customer experience feels like. The warmth. The concern. From minute-one to years beyond, you can always count on Sally to be there for you. Sally can be a single employee – as is often the case with smaller companies – but Sally can also be how a team of employees greets and interacts with customers.

He or she can be an upper manager, or entry level employee, and can simply be a company’s culture. The Sally difference is it must be real. It must be genuine. It must reflect an earnest concern for people, an earnest love for the company, and the gift of creating happy, loyal customers.    

When it feels like a company runs smoothly, has happy employees, and you feel happy because they are happy, rest assured it is a company with a Sally Culture.

In this age of online communication, so often the first contact with a company is via a keyboard, and dealing with some sort of computer screen. I leave this perennial  debate of the balancing act between personalized contact and online process to others.

The message here – especially in this era of mammoth companies and micro-managing corporate wonks – is really in the form of three questions:  

1. Do your customers feel like they have just worked with Sally?

2. Were their needs met at a fair price, their questions answered with knowledge, confidence and good cheer, and did they feel great after working with your company?

3. Who is your Sally?

This Pop-Quiz is now complete. And if you have any questions about the quiz itself, just ask Sally.   




Copyright © 2017 by Greg Meakin


GregMeakin2020@gmail.com

SCHOOL SHOOTINGS

Goodness, what a tragedy the school shooting epidemic has become.  The pattern is now the same after these episodes. The left demands gun control, the right says it’s the person, not the gun, and everybody fights about it endlessly.

There have been various solutions presented recently, a few of which I will analyze and publish soon. One thing that seems clear to me, is the American solution might not be culturally acceptable to other countries. America, with its deep roots in the 2nd Amendment, simply will not “give up their arms” as other countries have tried to do.

Stay tuned. Sadly, this is in the Education section of the eMagazine.