Category Archives: Business

Unprovable Partisan Opinion

Unprovable Partisan Opinions or UPOs are persuasive statements that pretends as though they are absolute truths. For example, the statement:

“There is no doubt that I owe my happiness to my wife.”

Of course, you would say that because you love your wife, she’s awesome and the best thing that ever happened to you, but there are likely alternative realities where you have a different wife or you never married in which you are still happy. In the above statement, you are saying my wife caused your happiness. She makes you happy. Maybe your happiness is contingent on a whole complex set of variables for which your wife is a significant variable? Just a guess. But your statement is partisan in the sense that your family is your team. It is a statement that is emotionally charged to convince the audience and indeed yourself that you need your wife to be happy. It is not prove-able that your happiness depends on the existence of your wife. Nor is disprovable since you can’t untangle your wife from your life without a bunch of paperwork etc.

Okay try this one.

“My university is the best in the world”

What if I told you that there is an alternative reality where you went to another university and that in that parallel universe you also said “my university is the best in the world”?…How do you know this is the best university in the world if it is the only university you have ever experienced? You don’t!

Still not getting it? Okay, so in politics, UPO are used constantly.

“Trickle down economics does not work”

How can we know that the Keynesian alternative policy is better if we applied “trickle down” during the period in question? You can’t simply do a time series data analysis and say, “see, the economy went down hill during the period that we had trickle down economics.” That’s just flabby thinking. And what if the economy goes up during a period where that policy is in place? The nuance is that we can deduce that a given policy works for some but not for all. And frequently, the people who bet a policy will work for their own self-interest will be that policy’s biggest advocated. But we really aren’t serious if we shout from the roof tops that X policy doesn’t work because we disagree with the values that underpin that policy….

Try this one.

“We just needed a few more years in Vietnam and we were gonna win that war.”

First of all, 1975 is when the US left Vietnam. This quote says that staying would have led to victory. There is no way to access the reality where that policy was tested and proven correct whatever winning looks like anyway. So that’s maybe an easier way to understand UPOs.

  • Unprovable because we can’t access that reality.
  • Partisan because it is backed position of a political group to which the speaker is a part of.
  • Opinion because it is not rooted in data or facts that we can review.

UPOs are used in academia a lot as well. However, a good university paper has to talk through all the counter arguments. In fact, a good university paper in social sciences relies on have a UPO that you then defend…. which is why academia is considered more about teaching that doing useful things that help the world.

UPOs are a core problem with data science, too. We don’t have control groups when it comes to policy. People will screw up your experiment every-time by being unpredictable. People aren’t atoms to be pushed around….Your public policy will have unintended consequences. And yet we know you are engaging in a UPO when you insist that it was your great decision-making that led to any positive outcomes and any negative outcomes are due to the complex variables that comprise human experience.

Stephen Lewis and the Race Against Time

Introduction to Race Against Time

Stephen Lewis is the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, one of the most influential academics dealing with African politics in North America. The Race Against Time was about Lewis’ experience in Africa. Africa’s 48 countries are damaged by the departure of colonalization, the cold war etc. Stephen Lewis has been dedicated after his many trips to Africa. Nails and coffins are not just metaphors in Africa. He was told stories by survivors of dead parents. He told the story of a girl, with piercing green eyes, who could barely speak. Many of the people he met were HIV positive. These parents are most concerned about whether their children will know them. The children of Africa are becoming increasingly parentless as generations lapse into the cycle of death and renewal. Lewis has been deeply touched by the emotional impact of what he encountered on his journeys, given it’s vast differences with his Canadian lifestyle. He wants other to care about Africa as much as he does. Visiting, and working in African has been an emotionally significant experience for Lewis.

Lewis’ African Experiences

Lewis flunked out of the University of Toronto. He worked for the Socialist International in London, England in 1960. David Lewis was his father. Social Democratic past. Having visited a majority of the countries on the continent, Stephen Lewis fell in love with Africa, particularly Ghana. He taught English in Akra. Lewis fell in love with his students (platonically). Lewis believed that people there are universally friendly, loving and open….He found out years later that many of his students had been killed in the 1970s-80s. Lewis has been deeply impacted by their deaths. In the 1950s and 60s, Africa was an exciting place of new potential. But AIDS and SAP changed everything.

AIDS & HIV: West Africa is only able to contain the virus. In the South, Aids is out of control. Grandmothers have stepped in to help the ill. There were 36 orphaned children in the village where HIV was first diagnosed in 1982, according to Lewis’ visit. There are 1000s of families where the head of the household is under 15 years old. With the death of the mother, children have to fend for themselves. Who is doing anything for the orphans?

Hunger Food: all communities are hungry. Poverty used to be about having no money. Lewis notes that Mozambique to Swaziland, these people are not asking for drugs but want food. These people were desperate about food, starvation is massive. Aids treatment is very difficult without food. Combating any disease is difficult if lack of food is a factor. Entire generations of skilled labour are wiped out in the scourge of AIDS. The solution is to move towards prevention and education. BUT without food none of this is possible. Africa can be helped at its foundation: food production.

Structural Adjustment Policy: The SAP is the imposition of conditionality using macroeconomic theories implemented by the IMF. It is right wing economic thinking. They impose ill-conceived conditionality on Africa that is extremely damaging. Making aid conditional leads to deaths. You can’t adhere to an economic dialect when people are dying, according to Lewis. The cutbacks on spending in African countries are imposed by the IMF and the World Bank. There are user fees for health and user fees for school. At the heart of structural adjustment by the banks is the curtailing of the public sector and enhancing the private sector. This is at the expense of the civil society. People cannot afford healthcare. In exchange for African nations improving their governance would receive financial support from Western nations. The cerebral aristocrats at the World Bank are more interested in structural organization than the vulnerability of people. SAPs were driven to spearhead African economic recovery. Jeffrey Sachs believes terrible mistakes were made in Africa as well. But the World Banks and IMF were so smug and arrogant about the human consequences of their policy. They ignored the evidence that economies were not responding to the macroeconomic strategy. The African people were a laboratory for economic experiments.

Primary Education: Catholic schools are claiming that condoms are not successful in preventing AIDS, according to Lewis’ travels. The students wanted reliable information about condoms. Girls are being pressured into having sex. The pandemic is massive in Africa. The UN demands that all children should gain from schooling. Schooling allows better health, opportunity, and economic growth. Universal primary education is a primary source of economic growth. UniCef abdicated responsibility from the principle of universal education. Lewis believes that school fees should be abolished. Lewis sees fees as a deterrent to attendance. He doesn’t discuss the quality of teachers…Schooling has costs but those should be overcome. Lewis says that if AIDS, Food aren’t an issue, primary education is the goal. A World Bank loan was dependent on Zimbabwe’s imposition of school fees in 1997. The illumination of school fees is becoming an endless talk but no walk. When Uganda removed school fees (during an election), the number of students tripled. In theory, the UN and everyone supported universal education. Lewis takes issue with African people who are willing to compromise on education. The media does not punish world leaders for ignoring the education crisis. Western ambassadors were stubbornly opinionated about their views while they are really just angry that they were posted in Africa & never venture out of the capital city. Some kids are awarded scholarships to Secondary Education at age five before all of the students can develop.

International Aid: Lewis notes that subsidization of American and EU farmers costs 5 times the amount of foreign aid being given to African nations. This means that the EU gives their cows $2.50 USD per day where as Africans live off of less than $1.00 per day. The totalitarian regimes in Africa prevent G8 Nations from acting to aid the pandemic of AIDS in Africa, according to Lewis.

The Scourge of Debt: In 1988, the developing country ambassadors were skeptical of the economic growth through trade and a fair agreement at the Uruguay round of discussion. Other than trade, the African debt is also a massive setback. African countries are spending much on debt reduction and therefore can’t get healthcare. Because of Totalitarian regimes, African had 294 Billion dollars of debt from 1970-1992. Africa paid back 260 Billion mostly of interest. Africa is still 230 Billion dollars in debt. Africa is forever in a cycle of debt reduction. The Pentagon wrote-off 31 Billion dollars of debt in Iraq post-2003. They should be able to do the same for African nations.

Official Development Assistance: Lewis advocates the ODA. The ODA is sourced from the G8 nations. Tony Blair called for 0.7% of GDP by the G8. Lester B. Pearson set the benchmark of 0.7% of GDP for foreign aid. Few countries have come close to that number, unfortunately. Scandinavian countries are the only countries to go beyond 0.7% GDP. The US and Japan do not come close to fulfilling the basic benchmark. Italy is unreliable. UK and France promise to meet the benchmark by 2012. Japan wanted a seat on the Security Council and needed support of the African countries at the G8. SO, Japan made a promise to double its support from their previous numbers, unfortunately Japan doesn’t contribute much at all. The US only gives 3 Billion dollar per year. Bush might double that funding.

Political Short-Term Leadership: Paul Martin will only be around for a while. Bush won’t be around in 2010. Blair will be gone as well. Most G8 leaders in 2005 will be out to pasture. Martin propounds the vitues of the policy but doesn’t achieve the goal. The responsibility will be for the next set of leaders. Promises that are not kept internationally are a serious moral failure. Lewis has not faith in the political leadership.

Counter-Arguments to ODA: The problem is that most of the aid doesn’t get to the people who need it on the ground. 60% of ODA should be called phantom aid. Where does it go: technical aid (overpaid consultants) and administrative costs (inflated overhead). If the phantom aid was made real it would have dramatic positive effects. The G8 manipulates figures. They have betrayed Africa.

Women in Multilateralism: United Nations in 1985 didn’t have a single woman in the executive level. You need a lifetime to understand a project like communications at the UN. But few women are actually involved until 1997. Male authority is difficult to break down. Equality of man and women is a human right. Men head all IMF, UN, WORLD BANK. The imbalance is striking between women & men. The promise of women’s rights is a lie. Tony Blair created a commission where only 3 women of 17 spots were positioned. Social democrats are supposed to be sensitive to this issue but Tony Blair is not really in the same league as Lewis. Blair’s Commission for Africa was really weak on women’s topics. You cannot be serious about Africa if you are not serious about women in your own policy administration. Institutional rejection of women’s issues is widespread. African government’s don’t have watchdogs for women’s rights.


TRUMP: How To Get Rich

TRUMP: How to Get Rich by Donald J. Trump

Business Rule #1:

If you don’t tell others about your success, they probably won’t know about it. The Art of the Deal was a best seller, selling 3 million copies. Trump doesn’t do it all for the money, BUT money makes dreams possible. Trump is a billionaire author with a hit prime time television series called The Apprentice.

Business Rule #2:

Keep it short, fast and succinct.

Part 1: Donald J. Trump School of Business & Management

Trump has 20,000 employees and running a business is like being a general. Your employees’ lives are dependent on you and your decisions. Be careful when choosing new employees. Don’t get mediocre people. Attitude is important. Have people around you that you can trust. All of Trump’s senior officials are trusted people. Sometimes your employees need a jolt or they need to be cajouled. Cater your inspiration to the specific worker you’re dealing with.


The Late 80s, Trump lacked attention to his business, he loved Fashion shows and beautiful women. The real-estate market crashed in the late 1980s almost runined Trump. A begger on the street was worth 9.2 Billion dollars more than Trump was in 1989…Forbes was very pleased with Trump’s crisis. Fortunately, Trump has allies in the banks, at 3am Trump walked to CitiBank. He phoned Japanese, Austrian banks. Trump personally guaranteed a billion dollars. Trump suggests that you never guarantee anything in life.

MAINTAIN YOUR MOMENTUM: don’t marry the wrong women, don’t retire from you business. Mr. Levitt lost his momentum. He left the world of business for 20 years. No matter how much you think you know your business, you need to be re-trainned regularly. Whatever you are managing, don’t assume you can glide by without constantly refreshing your knowledge.

Part 2: Career Advice from Donald Trump TAKE CONTROL OF THE INTERVIEW:

First impressions are deceptive. Don’t always assume that the boss will hire with a great interview. People are looking for a skilled intelligent person.


Don’t ask the boss on the worst possible day. If everyone is down do not ever ask for more money. You should seriously consider asking for a raise on a sunny beautiful day.


Trump is building Trump Place. It is an example of why tenacity is a good move. He has been trying to build this for 30 years. Trump built a golf club: Trump International golf club. Trump is extremely supportive of golf courses. People with passion will never give. It is a momentum that will make you indominable. Some people should stay out of business. If they aren’t passionate then they should move onwards to something else. Don’t do something you don’t like for a living.

Turn your passion into profit.



Brand names are a way of holding standards. Who is going to eat a No Name brand hamburger? Who would you sue? The name is crucial. We all know the power of brand names. It is a viable outlet for creativity. Becoming a brand name is an excellent thing. An unknown developer is not going to be successful. The problem with brand names, the media will take a shot at you. Don’t be afraid to brag a bit. Toot your own horn. Celebrate your successes.

It’s not personal, it’s business.


Have some instincts, and follow them. You need to gain strong business instincts. Trump knew within seconds that Mark Burnett was going to make The Apprentice excellent. Our conscious minds are useful but the unconscious tendencies will be crucial for decision-making. Learn to read people’s gut reaction.


Don’t be surprised. Be prepared for problems. Always be optimistic publicly but anticipate the horrors of failure.


Know all about what you are getting yourself into. You need to equivocate in politics which is the significant problem with transferring from business to politics. This is why Trump decided not to run for the Reform Party in 2004. You need to be blunt in business.

Donald Trump’s Rules for Public Speaking


• Be prepared by reading.

• Have examples and references.

• Make anecdotes as vivid as possible.

• Don’t read a speech: it will be boring.

• You need to cover your bases mentally.

• Be a good story teller.

• Involve everyone. Tune people in.

• Story Telling is a skill.

• Learn to think on your feet be flexible.

• Be aware of the common denominator.

• Keep it all in perspective.

1. Think about your audience first

2. Get your audience involved.

3. Be prepared

4. Be a good story teller

5. Be aware of the common denominator.

6. Be an entertainer.

7. Be able to laugh at yourself

8. Think on your feet

9. Listen

10. Have a good time.

11. Study Regis Philbin


Negativity is a form of fear. Don’t fear the problem. You need to start thinking positively or you will sabotage yourself. If you have received a lot of hard knocks. Don’t open the door to more knocks. Hard knocks are an insight into more trouble. Think about how more fortunate you already are. You can always better you best day. Engage in positive thinking and have a little blind faith.

Change your attitude and gain some altitude.


Children with handicaps seem to fight for everyday they have been given. When you’re down another day can be another chance. Keep going, keep on trucking. Feed yourself some positive thoughts. Certain people keep going because they stay positive. Lincoln had a lot of faith, he didn’t receive much encouragement. Some people are losers unfortunately, they’re attitude is so low that they are below sea-level.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge” Albert Einstein


People become persona’s that they forward in public. In private we are very different people, according to Jung…By not assuming an EGO, you will defeat you opponent…


It is the centre of our consciousness. Get an EGO, Get a LIFE. No EGO means very little life force. Strive for wholeness. Knowledge is power. Your mind can build castles but make sure the foundation is in place first.

PART 3: Money, Money, Money


Beware of instant stars in the world of finance. Trust the people who are successful consistently. Invest simply, don’t take unnecessary risks. Some people have extremely complicated explanations for market trends BUT Warren Buffet knows how to break it down simply. Invest with companies you understand.

Donald and Ivana Trump (Photo by Bob Sacha/Corbis via Getty Images)


People have a right to protect their assets. Don’t let a women trick you into not signing a prenuptial. Ivana’s lawyers were extremely vicious but we signed a prenuptial agreement. There is nothing wrong with common sense.


You need to be direct with people and meet them directly. Lawyers will try to get rich by churning billable hours. Go right to the top and get something done. Whenever possible settle, it saves a lot of time.


Money is extremely serious. The sooner you understand the value of money, the better. Don’t be careless with money. Children learn from what they see. If you enjoy gambling, your kids will like gambling too. Don’t have goof-off kids. You cannot enter the financial world without understanding money.

PART 4: The Secrets of Negotiation

“If you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.”


It’s all about persuasion, not power. Just because you are successful doesn’t mean you have to act like a bulldozer. You don’t need to coerce people into following you. Power is not just about calling the shots. It’s about ability. No one will take notice if you call bad shots. Know what you’re doing: convincing others. Study the art of persuasion. Don’t expect people to believe your bullshit. Give people analogies, if you go to far over their heads they will be upset. Use humour and you will be successful. We all need to have a healthy dose of confidence. Don’t bulldoze. There is a fine line between acceptance and resignation. Don’t brow beat them into believing you. Let them think they are in control. He Who has the Gold Makes the Rules: let the others talk and observe your body language. Most negotiations should be calm. The best negotiators are chameleons. Learn the value of saying “NO”. Know what they want from you.


The Kinson group, that Trump was doing business with, had no idea about renovations in 1995. Kinson was failing at renovating 40 Wall Street. Trump wanted a restructure ground lease. The Kinson family wanted out fast and Trump knew it. 40 Wall Street was bought by Trump. If you want the truth, you should try to get direct contact with the decision makers. Trump made a deal where that the lease would need quality tenants + no fees during the renovations. In the mid-1990s, Trump was able to make a great deal from 40 Wall Street. Trump knew what the other side was thinking. Afterwards, the market started working in his favour in 1995. Trump won big.


40 Wall Street had tenancy and a vacant building. Trump was asked to pay the broker 60 G per month as a retainer because the broker had no faith in Trumps abilities to make the property viable again. The broker was inflexible and Trump fired him. A new broker came in and made millions.


The depressed market for office tenants made it suggestable to rent out to a residential conversion of 40 Wall Street. Trump believed it would be a private office building location. They decided to have the building turned into 3 sectors. They turned the top 700,000 Square feet into boutiques who wanted a high view. The middle 300,000 would be office buildings. Today, the building is worth hundreds of times it’s value in 1994.


Be careful about what you reveal, you will know about the contours of the deal. Trump had crucial information during negotiations. He led the people he was dealing with to believe that he was only interested in the air-rights for a Trump Tower when he wanted to buy the lease. He gained leverage by controlling knowledge and expectations.


You might learn that what you wanted was not really what you wanted. Trump assimilates new information quickly as negotiations proceed. Trump loves negotiating. There is a duality with negotiation. Before you begin negotiating, write down your objectives and their objectives. Know what you want and reveal it at the appropriate time.


Know when to be patient. One good way to make the deal accelerate is by not looking to eager for a deal. Trump would delay a deal until his opponents were getting itchy enough to settle for a lower bid. These folks waited the time to give Trump what he wanted to get. Distract the other side. In gambling, if you have no bankroll, then others will target you for obviously having much more to lose in a deal. Trump was having trouble with an impatient opponent so he threw out his false concern about the building’s history, thus delaying negotiations so that he could get his bearings.


Kofi Annan tried to stop Trump’s construction near the UN. Trump didn’t say anything critical about the UN. Trump knew that some ambassadors might want to live in Trump’s building. NY City Lawyers tried to tax the hell out of Trump’s project. Trump sued the City of New York. Trump reached a deal where he would take 17%. Trump had to support Bronx’s housing.


Go after someone who has attacked you as viciously as possible. Live by your principles. Like it says in the Bible, an eye for an eye.


It’s a jungle out there. We are worse than lion’s. Getting retribution and paranoia can be a waste of time, however. If you can dismiss a negative you should do so. Save time and focus on bettering yourself and your family. But again, sometimes you have to screw people back.

Some people deserve to be screwed back:

For example, Trump gave money to two restaurant entrepreneurs. A year later, the owners hadn’t given him a single dollar even if these owners were making a great deal of money. Trump felt that these people had screwed him out of money for his investment. Suing them would have cost a lot of time and wasted effort given how much he gave those dudes. They knew they could get away with it. But now, Trump won’t even recognize these entrepreneurs in public.

Also, Mario Cuomo was given a lot of funding from Trump during his run as governor. Then, after Cuomo was removed from office (for hiking real estate taxes) Trump wanted some help with a simple above-board request from Cuomo. Cuomo said “NO”. Trump screamed at Cuomo for being disloyal for a proper simple request.

In addition, Pete Dockings had a charmed life. Rhodes Scholar etc. Dockings wanted a Vietnam monument in New York. Trump provided over a million dollars. Trump used the best unions he could find to help build the monument. Trump did a lot of work to make the project a success. BUT Dockings took all the credit for the creation. Later, Trump wanted some help but Dockings didn’t want to help Trump for some unknown reason.

Sometimes you have to hold a grudge.


Trump disagreed with CBS’s partnership with The Miss Universe Pagent. Trump bought the CBS out of the project. Trump had to say “NO” to CBS’s tactics which were not working. Trump took control and made sure they got back to focusing on beautiful women. Trump made a new partnership with NBC. The ratings were higher than ever and Trump created a great opportunity elsewhere with NBC.


If you attack everyone, you will lose a lot of friends. Don’t attack everyone; that is foolish. You can knock some people but never everyone.

I think it’s cool to be creative










Doctor Fiction




Warren Kinsella’s The War Room Running Campaigns Synopsis

A Synopsis of The War Room by Warren Kinsella

Political Strategies for Business, NGOs, and Anyone Who Wants to Win

{This is a synopsis that contains some verbatim elements (probably) so again, this is simply my notes on the book}

A Synopsis of The War Room by Warren Kinsella

Foreword by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien [Former Canadian Prime Minister] – “I am delighted that people have bought Warren Kinsella’s new book, but I would be more delighted, and so would they, if they bought mine. In all seriousness, I can reveal that Warren is passionate, loyal and a good guy to have on your side in a political fight. When he worked for me, and afterwards, he never hesitated to fight the good fight. His book is about how war rooms can help you to win. I encourage everyone to read it.”

Introduction: Welcome to the War Room

Warren Kinsella begins by explaining the concept of the war room. James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, popularized it in the media and the public during the 1992 Presidential election campaign. They needed to move quickly on Clinton’s alleged sex scandals, past drug use, and draft dodging. The War Room is perceived as a pejorative term when it is not. Media has evolved and continues to do so. Kinsella explains that the voting public doesn’t have time to study politics closely. The public needs the message quickly and therefore a new political technology needs to be honed. The War Room is a defensive and centralized organization within political campaigns that disseminates spin in response to attacks from the opposing camp(s). The rules of campaigning make it imperative to have quick responses to attacks. Politicians publicly decry attacks and talk about changing the way politics is done but ultimately the public love a good car accident and/or political attack. The politics of personal destruction is the name of this game. This is the premise of the entire book.

Kinsella emerged as a young Calgary lawyer who jumped onto the Chrétien campaign in 1989 during which the Meech Lake Accord dominated Canadian political discourse. Warren Kinsella opposed Meech. After learning in detail how a war room functions, Kinsella advised Chrétien that the 1993 election required a near carbon copy of James Carville’s war room. This book discusses Kinsella’s experience in the Federal elections of 1993, 2000 and Ontario provincial election of 2003. Kinsella is an investigative journalist at heart: who used his talents to get dirty to help his candidates. Negative ads work, Kinsella is nasty with a cause. His Conservative adversaries called Kinsella the ‘Prince of Darkness’. Kinsella does not deny that people that he hates in return hate him. For Kinsella, loyalty is everything. He will go down the campaign and defend his friends viciously. Anyone who breeches his trust cannot be trusted.

Lesson One: Let’s Get Started!

The 1896 US Presidential election: McKinley’s campaign becomes historic as the first with a campaign manager who orchestrated massive pilgrimages to see McKinley speak instead of having him travel the United States. Campaign managers must impose order upon chaos. Campaigns are a mishmash of emotions, egos and ambitions that are sometimes too big, and budgets, resource and timetables too small. Campaigns need money. It is the core of a successful effort. However, the best people don’t need money they want to fight for beliefs and ideas. Campaigns need to be structured with the manager-type, media person, head policy wonk, the fundraiser, the volunteer coordinator and the war room director. A campaign should have a calendar of events, with a linear plan of action. Campaigns must understand their candidate. Paul Martin was foolish in being all things to all people, for example (more on him later). Campaigns need detailed records of what the opposition have said. Opposition research is about scrutinizing the public record. Stockwell Day supported a flat-tax, for example (more on him later). Campaigns need The Message. Campaigns need to plan for contingencies.

Kinsella believes that James Carville is a GOD-like communicator. Political campaigns aren’t places for original ideas. Emotions defeat reason in politics. Carville had an interesting career. Demeaning your opponent in a funny way is extremely effective. Carville believes that strategy is hard and tactics are easy. Strategy is an overall plan like the now famous 1992 campaign:
• Change Versus More of the Same
• It’s the Economy, Stupid
• And Don’t Forget Health Care

Lesson Three: Get Your Message Out (For Free)!

Gandhi hated the media, reporters and photographers. Even the man behind Satyagraha had a negative opinion of that profession. Political consultants hate journalists for the same fundamental reasons. They are ‘intensely evil bottom feeders’; inherently driven by a desire to bring politicians down. Journalists are naturally drawn to negativity, criticism and attacks.

Warren Kinsella was a journalist, so he sympathizes with both sides. He, in fact, sees mainstream media as the boards in a hockey rink. They contain the players or political actors on the ice and restrict, control and guide the political discourse. The media has agenda-setting power. The boards are your friends because it’s true. The media is your friend, kind of. The boards are hard, the media are equally tough and will be there well after your political careers have blow in the wind. The media, like the boards, can be helpful for the players/politicians on the ice rink. During the campaign, candidates will run low on funds etc. There are no shortages of problems. With the right shoot of the puck, with the right spin you can avoid the most troublesome obstacles on the ice.

Research data shows that political consultants hate the media. But they need to recognize that they are bound together by the political discourse for eternity. Consultants need to realize that the media can save your expensive campaign money. Lots of money. If you have a story to tell the media can tell it. You need to gain earned media coverage. You need to learn how to control the media. Perot ’92 campaign spent millions of dollars to control the message because they couldn’t control the media. Gary Hart’s 1987 campaign was destroyed when the media followed him around to see all the women he was doing on the side. He should have taken Kinsella’s advice.

Read Kinsella’s Twelve Handy and Immutable Media Rules:

1) The Press is the Enemy, Sort of: Chris Matthews said the mission of the journalist is to find a good story, which constitutes bad news reporting. The media aren’t entirely the enemy but never believe they are your friends. Never talk to a journalist like he or she is your friend. If you need a friend on the campaign get a fucking dog.

2) Leave No Charge Unanswered: Hit back or lose. Don’t wait long when someone is attacking you. With the 24 hour – 7 day news you must be quick or dead. Never leave a charge unanswered.

3) Nothing Is Off the Record: Even when you ask a journalism to listen off the record, journalists will not turn off the recorder. When you lay the ground rules with the journalist recognize that they will take a juicy story a thousand miles over following proper decorum. Proceed with caution!

4) Politics Is War: Journalists love militaristic analogies. Blood, corpses, murder very intriguing. Get attention by using apocalyptic terminology because the media will lap it up.

5) Keep It Simple, Stupid: Carville believed it in the Bill Clinton war room. So should you. First of all, most voters are completely overwhelmed, they don’t have time to learn the party platforms: make it simple. Second of all, political reporters don’t have time or the inclination to analyse policy documents. Campaigns are up against “data smog”. Don’t insist on making it complicated. Relegate academics to serving coffee.

6) Get It Right the First Time: Dan Quayle’s June 1992 visit to an elementary school in Trenton where he told a student that Potato was spelt with an “e”. Don’t make a massive mistake. It’s media gold. Try not to be gaffe ridden.

7) Swords Are For Falling On: Stockwell Day made an analogy involving the brain drain and the Niagara Falls’ draining from north to south. Unfortunately, it drains southwest to northwest into the Ocean. Day blamed someone else for his mistake instead of accepting responsibility. The Bottom Line? Mistake-making campaigners should, if the circumstances warrant, fess up, laugh at themselves, and then move on. Periodically falling on one’s sword is excellent politics.

8) The Orchestra Pit: Ailes, a Nixon adviser, said that if one candidate says that they have a solution to the Middle East crisis and the other candidate falls off the front of the stage in mid-sentence guess who makes the front page? When given choice journalists always go negative.

9) Spin Is B.S: You can’t shine shit. Spin can only get you so far. The media love to do research that contradicts your statements.

10) TV Is Pictures: B.C. Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell once said to Warren, “It’s 10 percent what you say, 20 percent how you say it, and 70 percent how you look.” TV anchors have tiny black hearts. TV exposes how they perspire, their body language and how they dilation.

11) Sound Bites Earn Earned Media: The average sound bite in the1960s was 42.3 seconds. Now it’s 9.8 seconds. Kinsella believes that if it can’t be said in 10 seconds then it probably isn’t ever going to be explained properly. Work on your sound bite skills.

12) The Media Is a Special Interest Group: Voters tend to look for evidence that corroborates what they already believe or suspect. The media is a special interest group aligned with the enemy. But they love to be spun.

Journalists love writing about the horse race but not about the policy behind the fight. Opinion columns do not change anyone’s voting behaviour. In 2006, only the Toronto Star wanted a Liberal government. But such editorials have virtually zero impact on voters. Newspaper endorsements do not have an effect on voter choice.

Lesson Four: Get Your Message Out (For Money)!

Warren Kinsella named his company after the infamous 1964 LB Johnson ad; it is called Daisy Consulting Group. “The stakes are too high for you to stay home.” The Daisy ad is the most influential in political history. It only appeared once on September 7, 1964. But it had a profound effect. Goldwater was being painted as insane. Advertisements should arouse basic emotions. Goldwater was a radical. The ad counterbalanced his absurdity as a presidential candidate. The Democrats and their ad agencies wanted to show that Goldwater would have his finger on the nuclear button. Kinsella details how the famous ad was created. It was controversial, and effective. Goldwater underestimated the power of the spot.

Campaigns should always try to get paid media. Paid media allows you full control of the messaging. Truman shook hands with over 15 to 20 million people. It was personal back then. But with the media, information can been transferred. You need a unique selling proposition (USP). First, the ad must make a proposition to the customer being targeted. Second, uniqueness. The ad had to be able to make a claim about the product or service that the competition could not. Three, the proposition needed to be strong. Need to motivate the masses.

The classic political hacks of the Eisenhower administration sent out new releases that were shocking simplistic and argue forcefully for his elect ability. If you have “a bus driver who drives through a lawn sign, living-room and kitchen, you don’t say he had good intentions. You get a new driver.” Nixon’s checkers speech: learn about it.

Research shows that negative advertisements work. There are two reasons. First, TV is an emotional medium, and emotional messages work best with voters. Negative ads are crafted in the best dramatic tradition; they contain characterization, plot and conflict. Second, negative ads work because they are negative. Newsprint used to be owned by political leaders in Canada. R. B. Bennett set up hilarious ads where two people had conversations about how bad Mackenzie King was in 1925-30, slush funds etc. King won in 1935 but said that such ads should be banned.

There are Six Elements for a successful media campaign. 1st element, you need to develop a media plan that works. Consultants focus on (GRPs) gross rating points. The average GRP will expose a person to an ad at least once. So that 500 GRPs ensure that each person sees an advertisement 5 times. 2nd element, timing. There are unexpected events during the campaign. You should buy during the beginning and near the end of a campaign. You need to connect political objectives with advertising timing. 3rd element, get the target audience. The pollsters usually reveal the demographics, target those you want and need. 4th element, you need to spend strategically for areas of priority. Don’t spend where you are geographically disadvantaged, there will always be winner and losers in Canadian political geography. 5th element, mix your message from various media. Al Gore did shows like David Letterman and Jay Leno for a reason. Chrétien appeared on Mike Bullard. 6th element, 30-second slot is the workhorse for campaign advertising. Use the 60 or 30 minutes slots. Despite the complexity of ad buying, it is really rewarding if you make the right strategic risks.

Lesson Five: Get Creative!

A bit of career advice: if you want to avoid criticism, or embarrassed,  or psychological warfare by even your relatives and closest friends – don’t get into politics. Become a bureaucrat or business person instead. Kinsella was told by Romeo Leblanc (former Governor General of Canada) to stop “fucking around” during the 1993 campaign. Secrecy is important in the politics as a job title. According to Kinsella, dirty things will go down, you need to be very hush-hush. You can’t achieve great things without taking great risks. Not taking risks is a risk itself.

In the 2000 campaign, The Fundamental Day (a documentary) appeared on CBC. It showed that Stockwell Day (former leader of the Canadian Alliance) was very religious and was antagonistic to a pluralistic and urban democracy according to Kinsella. Day didn’t approve of abortion, lesbians, gays and single mothers, generally. Day spoke about ‘God’s law being clear.’ Day even talked about creationism. The CBC documentary was pure gold for Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella. In light of the airing, Kinsella plotted the perfect counter attack. He first had every local Liberal Party campaign watch the documentary. Although Day was a creationist, it really doesn’t matter. What Kinsella emphasized was the separation of church and state. Stockwell Day was going to impose his personal and moral vision on a Federal level which is not viable in such a religiously diverse country. James Carville (the ragin’ cajun) believed that you need to be able to make a joke about yourself and there is nothing wrong with going after someone with a nice funny statement. Warren Kinsella believes that “if I’m gonna go down, I’m gonna go down in flames.” Kinsella took a chance.

On the CTV’s Canada Am, Kinsella argued with other parties. He never dealt with the peripheral parties focusing his attack on the Canadian Alliance. Kinsella famously pulled out a Barney doll from The Flintstones and said that it was important to remind Day that The Flintstones was not a documentary. Sometimes you need to be creative. This attack argued that Day could not be trusted with the affairs of the Canadian people. Was the Barney ploy a dirty trick? Is Kinsella a smear doctor? Well, dirty tricks have been going on as long as politics. There are detective agencies that spend all their time researching political candidates. As the Turner people lurched towards defeat they became more desperate and sneaky. 1999 U.S. Gallup poll, for example, showed that fully three-quarters of those surveyed considered ethical political behaviour to be ‘very important’. Judy LaMarsh followed Diefenbaker around the country but her stocking strategy backfired. Get creative, don’t smoke drugs but be creative. Being creative means being willing to take risks etc. You have to be willing to get embarrassed badly. Always use emotional appeals. This is the way to win on the campaign trail, according to Kinsella.

Lesson Six: Get Tough!

There are causes worth fighting tough for: Kinsella despises Big Tobacco. It is an emotional issue for him. His father died of lung cancer after a life of smoking. Usually the issue is personal to you. You should always re-assess the effectiveness of your strategy and tactics before and after the campaign. With Big Tobacco, you can’t defeat them with statistics or try to win the day with columns and graphs and charts and numbers. If you come up with a hard-hitting story versus money thrown at a team, the simple story wins. Real stories are the battlefield. The tobacco merchants will never win the war. This is a real war. It’s pretty hard for an opponent like Big Tobacco to punch you if they already have my fist in their face. So Kinsella argues that you should go negative.

Researchers emphasize that going negative is unpopular with voters. But the fact is that empirical measures cannot quantify data that is sub-conscious. The political subconscious loves a good smear campaign. The stakes are too high to go on a subtle attack. There was one battle the Kinsella remembers well where negative attacks worked. The Chrétien/Martin leadership crisis.

Don’t Commit Regicide: Paul Martin’s people reconstituted the Liberal Party oligarchy with incompetent people that destroyed the party’s viability. Kinsella mentions that David Herle didn’t accept his help. Brian Guest who is a controversial advisor for Stéphane Dion didn’t respond to Kinsella’s offer of help in a fairly backhanded e-mail. Chrétien had a 50% approval rating in 2003. He offered to stay for the Sponsorship scandal but Martin was too ambitious to wait. A civil war broke-out in the Liberal party during 2004. Martin’s people dumped Copps as well as tried to prevent Stéphane Dion from taking his seat. They then invited people like Jean Lapierre into the cabinet. Martin’s people said that the ‘Clarity Act’ was useless. Martin was a soft nationalist in Quebec. Martin then decided to turn the RCMP investigation into a commission into the sponsorship scandal, which would effectively pin all the criminality on Chrétien’s people. Paul Martin went around the country saying he was ‘mad as hell’ about the sponsorship scandal: Liberal Party dropped 15 points in one week. Kinsella was attacked with legal retribution from the angry Martinites who they wanted to control. The Martinites committed regicide.

If they listened to Kinsella things would be different. “Kinsella’s Four New Rules of Media Management”

1st, Crisis Management Rule: never call a big hairy crisis, a crisis. Never let them know that you’re in a crisis like Paul Martin did.

2nd, Public Servant Rule: these people are the most powerful people in Ottawa. Be nice to them, they do good work. Paul Martin declared war on members of the public service. It sent a negative signal to the entire bureaucratic institutions in Ottawa.

3rd, Don’t Do Stupid Things. A) keep you story straight. It’s probably not a good idea to say one thing in a press conference and then let you staff run-around saying something else. Calling Chrétien (the preceding PM) names is confusing and stupid. B) If You Take a Swing at a Professional Political brawler from a Small Town in Rural Quebec, Make Damn Sure You Knock Him Out But Good: otherwise he’s a liability to get up and beat the shit out of you.

4th, Party Leader Rule. Protect your leader very well. Protect the leader you are loyal, you must have Blind Faith. Kinsella resolutely believed that Martin was headed to a minority on his blog.

Martin should have said that the buck stops at his desk instead of blaming his predecessor. He should have said that as finance minister he should have known about the scandal and add that he plans to pass into law to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Martin should have attacked Harper’s statement that Canada was a 2nd rate welfare state. Kinsella would have had signs saying Canada is ‘Number One’.

Negative Campaigning isn’t negative for democracy. It’s part of discourse. The Annenberg Campaign Mapping Project (ACMP) discourse into three types:

(1) Advocacy, which are arguments in favour of a politician’s position,
(2) Contrast: which are arguments contrasting two or more political choices,
(3) Attack: which are arguments critical of an opponent or the opponent’s position on something.

Only 3 are negative. Reporters are more negative in a day than you will be in your lifetime.

Negative campaigning isn’t becoming more widespread. It just isn’t. It’s true that after every campaign, editorialists and political scientists churn our pious thumb-sucker opinion pieces about how awful and nasty and unpleasant the latest election was. A poll in the 1996 Clinton v Dole race showed that negative ads increased both the turnout and vote share. Reporters and opponents should research the political public record. It’s only fair. But war rooms can go too far.

One ad went too far. It’s 1993, on day 38 of the 48-day federal campaign, the Liberal war room snapped to attention. Allan Gregg and John Tory led the PC campaign ads. There were two spots about Jean Chrétien, which had been ‘decidedly curious and ineffective’. Their campaign was viciousness. The new ads were different from anything else that had appeared in public discourse up to that time. The ads asked: “Is this a prime minister?” The woman said she would be embarrassed and was clearly referring to Chrétien’s facial paralysis. This ad struck the public as the testament to the fact that politicians will do anything to get elected. Everyone agreed that the ads were despicable and yet they had been group tested with no problems. The Tories wanted to secure the support of the PC voters. Gregg used shots from a press conference, he didn’t feel that this was wrong. They used pictures of Chrétien. Like MacLean’s magazine had. It was about his policy not his face. But the damage was monumental.

A lot of PC candidates apologized for the ads; distancing themselves from them. Sinclair Stevens sent a letter to Kinsella at the war room, which explained his complete embarrassment. Campbell apologized for the ads. She accepted blame and pulled them. Gregg felt that Chrétien was weak on the economy (NAFTA) and foreign policy. Allan Gregg is a normal guy, he just had no idea the ads were going to backfire. The campaign wasn’t getting desperate at all. It was just a political blunder. Campbell tried to distance herself from Gregg’s ad. Allan Gregg maintains that she approved the ads. He didn’t think they were making fun of his face.

Kinsella said: the facts remain that they used unflattering pictures of Chrétien. But you must pick your battles. Don’t waste your passion. Pick a gift only for a cause you believe in.

1st, the critical statement of fact you are making about your opponents has to be scrupulously accurate.

2nd, the allegation you are making must be an even-handed take on the facts, that is, it can’t be so wildly out of context that if offends people’s sense of fairness. Don’t heap ridicule on yourself.

3rd, the critical statement must be on the public record – what is sometimes called ‘quotes and votes’.

Get passionate, get involved, and get tough!

Lesson Seven: Get the Facts and Numbers!

Kinsella recounts a McGuinty event where a 19-year shouted attacks criticizing the Liberal Party. Kinsella found out his name, corroborated by phoning the Conservative headquarters and emailed the kids resume to every body covering the event in the news media. All in 45 minutes. Should have been 35. The Conservatives planted the kid and were made to look stupid, dishonest and desperate by Kinsella.

Research is essential. Corroborating claims is essential. Thomas Jefferson had several mistresses all of them slaves. The opposition accused him of this but there was no proof. 200 years later the truth came out. Jefferson won the presidency anyway. The value of professional political consultants was the injection of large sums of cash not the system by aspiring politicians and advocacy groups. They needed people who could navigate the competitive media environment. Being factually accurate is tremendously important. You need quick opposition research and response. The need for speed in the CNN, NBC news cycle is paramount.

It is fair, in some cases, to probe a person’s personal life. Buchanan was a rank anti-European. Bush’s attack dogs found out he drives a Mercedes-Benz sedan, a European car. Pure hypocrisy. Opposition are always interested in missed votes in the US. Scanning for fibs, contradictions are effective. March 2008: Clinton claims she was shoot at in Bosnia. Campbell’s EH-101 copter flip-flop was a heightened by a Grit young liberal dressed as a chicken. Resume inflation is another area of research. Campbell went to the London School of Economics but never completed her thesis. Campbell had not paid back the money to attend the London School of Economics. In June 1993, Liberals flooded the Access to Information bureaucrats with demands for Campbell’s expense accounts. Someone sent a nasty affidavit’s about Campbell’s divorces. Property records and list of political donors. One of the companies that had supported Campbell in 1993 had received donations in national defence contracts. Checking the facts is always a good idea.

An example of getting the facts wrong by the PCs in 1993. Jean Chrétien released the Red Book at the start of the campaign in 1993 risking that it’s effect would be deluded by the end. The Tories released a blue binder full of attacks on Chrétien’s positions in the platform prior to the Red Book’s release. The blue book was desperate attack of costings in a Red Book that had not been released yet. The credibility problem with the media hurt the Conservatives for weeks to come. Technology has made aggressiveness in politics a must. This is similar to the Dewey Defeats Truman error in the 1948 Chicago Daily Tribune.
The 2006 Leadership Race is another example. The Super Weekend of delegate selection was in preparation for the Montreal convention in December of that year. Michael Ignatieff was at 29.6% of the delegates. He was rumoured to be ahead of the ex officio vote as well pushing him to 35%. This is called A Great Big Honking Lead! Bob Rae had only 20%….Allan Gregg was saying that Bob Rae would be the winner in mid-September. Polling mistakes happen often. Kinsella explains empirical research polling techniques. Polls have effected the electoral process. Polls can be right but they can also be disastrously wrong.

The push polling in South Carolina against John McCain was very effective: “How do you feel about McCain’s legislation that proposed the largest tax increase in United States history?” McCain wanted to tax churches, McCain had an illegitimate Vietnamese child. The idea is to manipulate public opinion, not change it. Push polling is unethical. Researching factual information is ethical. Push polling is not.

Lesson Eight: Get the Handle Scandal Manual!

Kinsella believes that Sponsorships work. They promote a cause or initiative. Helping sports team, charity fundraisers are a great service for a cause. Governments do sponsorships. In 1995, they cut spending on ads and polls. The Quebec brand was aggressively promoted. Kinsella wants the Canadian flag at Quebec post offices again! Should we stop promoting Canada in Quebec? Kinsella fundamentally believes that Martin should not have opened a public Commission but should have left it to the RCMP.

The Bush attack on Clinton criminalized him with effect. Kinsella knew that the defence of Chrétien’s legacy was at stake and planned a campaign of anti-defamation. With the help of Carville, Kinsella developed his technique for victory (excluding the details of the Sponsorship Scandal):

1) Don’t Get Mad, Get Even! If you look guilty, if you look worried, you’re screwed. Make them sweat. Make them angry. Don’t ever let them see you sweat!

2) Magnify Mistakes, Misspending, and Misstatements! When someone is out to magnify your mistakes, misspending, and misstatements then you need to return the favour. It’s the polite thing to do. It’s the smart thing to do, as well.

3) Hypocrites Always Deserve What They Get! Chuck Guité’s daughter was accused of getting preferential contracts while Gomery’s daughter was getting work from the commission through Ogilvy Renault.

4) Mock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em, Rock ‘Em! Jean Chrétien’s personalized golf ball interrogation is historic for demeaning the pettiness of the commission. The best way to defeat someone is to mock him or her. Humour is always an excellent strategy.

5) Tell the Truth and Take Responsibility! If someone tells a bald-faced lie, go after him. But don’t emulate him.

6) Motives Matter! People want to know why someone is chasing a scandal. Is it because they have to or want to?

7) Expose the Bullies! If a bully accuses you of something: rejoice! All the Martin people cared about was power. Getting it, keeping it. Martin supported Jean LaPierre for fuck-sakes! Martin says he loves public policy but hates politics. Martin destroyed Sheila Copps: Martin engaged in Regicide.

8) Get and Keep the People on Your Side! Martin did the exact opposite and it cost him everything.

9) Hit ‘Em Hard, Hit ‘Em Fast, Hit ‘Em Often! Speed kills your opponent. Never let a charge go unanswered. And Sponsorships work!

Kinsella uses the Sponsorship scandal as the case study in this section. He gives you information while simultaneously attacking the Sponsorship Commission. Kinsella attacks John Gomery for having loose-lips. Gomery revealed subtle bias against Jean Chrétien. Gomery’s daughter made a lot of money on the Commission as well as some PC friends. Gomery said he hated being lied to: implying that Liberals had lied to him. The Gomery commission cost the government a lot of money: it was an NDP line. Kinsella deeply despised the Martin people. He hates hypocrites after all! Gomery called Chrétien ‘small-town cheap’. Chrétien bit Gomery’s head off. Kinsella goes crazy jingoistic with the details of the Commission. Chrétien humiliated Gomery at the commission. The problem with the Martin people is that they lied too often. It’s not the breaking but the cover-up. No matter what was being said Gomery was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Lesson Nine: Get Modern!

Citizen Media is the future of politics. Blogs are very valuable in politics. There aren’t many female blogs. Kinsella believes that the Internet has raised the overall quality of public debate. Citizen media is powerful. For example the Drudge Report revealed the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal while the mainstream media withheld the story for as long as they could. Kinsella explains the Lewinsky scandal and its consequences for Internet based Citizen media. In 2006, Fuddle-Duddle blogger, Thomas Hubert said Israel was a vile nation. Boris Wrzesnewskyj called for the removal of Hezbollah from Canada’s terrorist organization list. Jason Cherniak is a great blogger who fought back against these cretins. An NDP blogger also said negative things about Israel.

The moral is these stories is 1) a new era is upon us, whether you like it or not. 2) popularity of blogs has exploded, corporations and political parties have scrambled to ensure their presence in the blogosphere. 2) what happens online can have a profound consequence for citizens, organizations, government, companies and campaigns.

McCain’s website was attracting money. Obama’s is today….Dean the same. Despite the fact that James Bowie says on his blog today that Blogs aren’t important. That blogs are a liability and that anyone with ambition would be wise not to have one. Kinsella contends that this is not the case.

Ten Reasons Why Internet Bloggy Stuff Is Pretty Important

1) It’s Free: in 2006, received 250,000 hits.

2) They’re Proudly Biased: journalistic objectivity is a joke anyway.

3) They’re Really Easy to Access: there are 1.6 Billion personal computers ww.

4) They’re the Hegelian Dialectic on Speed: public dialogue of ideas.

5) They’re Populist: you can bring in volunteers, ideas through the internets.

6) Google Power: bloggers have a high google rank sometimes.

7) Specialists Are Welcome: knowledge is diverse.

8. Interactions Are Welcome: there is a dialogue of ideas.

9) They’re Pithy as Heck: Blogs don’t take long to read.

10) They’re Fun: blogs are entertaining.

You can make a lot of money with the internet. This is where the future is going. The Virginia Tech tragedy will be remembered as the worst in US history. It will also be remembered for how Facebook users reacted to that tragedy.

Lesson Ten: Get Fighting!

Never ever give up the fight. Kinsella felt like a human piñata at times but he never quit. Everyone wanted Kinsella out of the Liberal Party. Don’t give up. Even if your wife says so. Don’t give up. You can’t quit your commitment to fight for your candidate, your campaign, or your cause. You will lose if you don’t try. Campaigns really matter despite declining rates of voter participation in elections. There are those such as James E. Campbell who say the Economics decides elections. He proved that if the GDP of the US was over 2.5% growth the incumbent won. This changed in Florida. Bush fought better and harder for the prize in 2000. Remember: W.W.C.D.; What Would Chrétien Do! Kinsella thinks that war rooms, and war roomers, have plenty to pass on to the people who don’t even work in politics. How, with smart planning and messaging and advertising – and a willingness to get tough and creative, and use every fat and figure and bit of technology at your disposal – you can beat back the scandal and the worst odds, and win. And win big……..