Archive for the ‘1. Politics’ Category

UNDERSTANDING FAKE & REAL POLLS

INTRODUCTION

With two exceptions, the presidential polls in the 2016 election were completely wrong.  If you knew those two exceptions in advance, you could have predicted the outcome of the election.  I did and therefore was 75% certain that Donald J. Trump would become our next President.  It was really simple:  I looked at the polls that accurately predicted the 2012 presidential election.  There were only two, one of which polled daily, the Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll.

BODY

I thought it was simply the media funding fake polls in order to create a bandwagon effect for their politician.  However, I decided to examine polls and find out why they differed so much.  The following is what I learned:

a) The design of a poll can easily create any outcome the pollster wants.  For example, the pollster determines what percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents s/he polls.  These percentage largely determine the results of a poll.

b) Whether the poll is of: a) all adults, b) registered voters, or c) likely voters,  is the next most important factor in determining the results of a poll.  Only half of all adults vote, 80% of registered voters, and over 90% of likely voters.  The most accurate poll of the President is the Rasmussen daily presidential tracking poll which polls likely voters.  It currently has President Trump at 46% approval and 54% disapproval.

c) The way in which poll questions are worded can significantly influence the results of the poll.  For example, a question can be worded: 1) do approve of the the President? OR 2) do you approve of the President’s job performance? OR 3) do you like the President? OR 4) etc., etc., etc.  Often poll questions are ambiguous and therefor the results can’t be trusted.

d) How many people you poll is very important in order to get a representative sample.  Nothing under a 1000-person-poll is very reliable.

e) How you select the people to be polled is very important.  For example, only selecting people from the inner city would result in an overwhelming number of people favoring a Democrat.  It would not be a representative sample, however.  Same is true for a poll conducted of New Yorkers only.

f) Who is sponsoring the poll is extremely important.  A poll funded by the New York Times, Washington Post, or CNN will not depict a Republican President favorably because those newspapers and TV station have a partisan agenda and are therefore unreliable.

CONCLUSION

I’ve attempted to show how polls can be manipulated to persude public opinion rather that guage public opinion.  I believe that most political polls are seriously flawed and therefore I don’t believe them to be reliable.  Past performance is the best way to judge a poll.  For example, the Rasmussen Daily Presidential Tracking Poll I believe to be the best of all of the Presidential polls, based on its past performance in both the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.  Looking at past performance, therefore, is the quickest and easiest way to determine how accurate or misleading a poll might be.

All Services

NORTH KOREA: SAY HELLO TO OUR STAR WARS (or SDI), GOODBYE TO YOUR MISSILES


North Korea (NOKO) has tested 9 missiles so far in 2017.  The United States successfully tested one of its SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) missiles on May 30, 2017, launching it from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  It shot down a missile that was launched from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.  In the recent past it was successful only about 50% of the time, however, with recent improvements, it looks like it’s successful all of the time.  This is very important to the security of South Korea, Japan, and Hawaii, all of which are currently within reach of NOKO’s missiles.  In only a few years, the U.S. mainland will also be within reach of NOKO’s missiles.  Were it not for President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. would not have this capability today.  Russian General Secretary Gorbachev pressed Reagan at their nuclear summit in Rekjavik, Iceland in 1986, but Reagan walked out of the talks rather than give up his Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed “starwars”.  The Democrat Congress tried to stop its development back then, as well as it and Democrat presidenrs up to the present, giving the Democrat Party the nickname the “Treason Party”.

NOKO has thousands of conventional artilary aimed at South Korea, many in hardened bunkers.  If the U.S. tried to destroy NOKO’s missile facilities, NOKO could kill at least a million South Koreans before all of their arsenal was obliterated by the U.S..  NOKO has the third largest army, after the U.S. and China. The U.S. recently tried to deploy its one-billion-dollar THAD anti-missile system in South Korea, as well as two aircraft carriers in the Sea of Japan, but there is a big problem.  The new president of South Korea is basically a pacifist and his administration consequently made a deal with China for the U.S. to remove the four THAD sysetems not yet deployed (there’s already two in place) and therefore make South Korea even more vulnerable than it currently is.

Ninety percent of NOKO’s trading is with China, making China very influential over NOKO.  President Trump is trying to have China pressure NOKO to stop testing its missiles, but so far with no success.  Previous presidents tried bribing NOKO, but NOKO did not keep any of its agreements with the U.S..

Life in North Korea is a living hell, with little food and electricity and government overwhelmingly horrible and similar to life depicted in George Orwell’s book, 1984, as explained in Barbara’s Demick’s  book on NOKO, Nothing to Envy.  However, North Koreans have been brainwashed to the extent that they worship Kim Jong-un, his father and grandfather as gods and believe all of the propaganda that the government presents.  The capitol of NOKO, Pyongyang,  sounds like a chapter out of the book, Stepford Wives.  To live there, a North Korean and his/her family must live an impeccable life, 100% loyal and obedient.

What will happen?  No one knows for sure, however, I believe that President Trump’s unique personality makes him distinctly capable of guiding the U.S. through this mess.   

OBAMACARE vs. TRUMPCARE

The new proposed American Healthcare Act recently passed the House of Representatives, and now the Senate is working feverishly on it since Obamacare is quickly falling apart and needs something to replace it.  Its failure will hurt many people by eliminating health insurance.  Since the U.S. is stuck with Obamacare for now, let’s take a look at it.

 Obamacare covers full-time employees in companies that employ 50 or more people.  Because Obamacare is very expensive, businesses are very wary of hiring additional full-time employees (FTE) and have consequently reduced their numbers to under 50 FTE’s, as well as converting full-time positions to part-time, so as to keep FTE’s under 50.  Consequently, the number of jobs that the Federal government reports each month is baloney because: (a) most of those new jobs are part-time jobs, and (b) the major reason the unemployment rate has lowered is because, after the unemployed run out of benefits, they are no longer considered looking for work and therefore taken out of the unemployment statistics that are calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Those statistics consequently then depict a lowered (phony) unemployment rate; but they have nothing to do with the creation of jobs.  An accurate portrayal of employment is the “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate” which was at it’s lowest level since 1978 when President Obama left office in January 2017.

2. Because Obamacare has deductibles as high as $5,000 for individuals and $10-12,000 for families, as well as very high co-pays, most people with Obamacare that are not subsidized by the government, tend to not benefit from it because they can’t meet their deductibles.  In other words, Obamacare for many people is like not having medical insurance…and at some point many will find it cheaper to just pay the IRS a fine every year for not not having expensive medical insurance that ends up each year in not providing any benefits.

3. With Obamacare’s IPAD (Independent Payment Advisory Board) or “Death Panels” as Sarah Palin calls them, expensive state-of-the-art medical treatment is severely restricted under Obamacare, for the elderly.

4. Though sold to the American public as saving the average American family about $2,500/year, it’s turning out to be far more expensive to everyone except those receiving government subsidies.  There are many, many people paying at least double their previous premiums.  Some are paying as much as five times their former premiums.  Moreover, the Federal government has spent billions in rolling out the Federal and State websites and in providing subsidies.  If and when fully implemented, some forecast that Obamacare will bankrupt the country.

Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act is rife with unintended consequences, some of the major ones I cited above. But there are many more (tax on medical equipment, doctor shortage, etc.).  All of the unintended consequences were completely predictable.  I don’t think that any revisions of The Affordable Care Act would be sufficient to fix it.  It was incompetently  and sloppily prepared.  I believe that it must be replaced after (this time) being carefully thought out.  Moreover, it’s failing so rapidly that soon there won’t be health insurance.  The House has prepared its version of healthcare insurance, the Senate is debating theirs.  A House-Senate Conference Committee will then meet to iron out the differences between them. The resulting bill will then need to be voted on by both the House and the Senate and then go to the President for his revision or approval.  Whatever replaces Obamacare will be much cheaper as well as a vast improvement by allowing individuals to actually choose their own plan and doctors.

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT: PROS & CONS

Each year, the National Defense Authorization Act is controversial.  In 2012, for example, it basically funded our military for the year but also was the first time it contained provisions for apprehending and detaining indefinitely any U.S. citizen suspected of terrorism without charging him/her with any crime or giving a trial.

It might be understandable why President Obama wanted such power, however, this was not in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and could have been a slippery slope, where a well-meaning law, eventually morphs into something sinister.  President Obama added a “Signing Statement” specifying when he might use the authority, but even if you take him at his word, opponents ask “how about future presidents?”  Might they use it?  How about President Trump?  The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, however, was for only one year, so didn’t the provision expire at the end of that year?

What made this interesting was that President Obama stopped the U.S. using water-boarding and other interrogation methods because he said he thought they were unconstitutional, but his abundant use of drones in blowing up foreign combatants was OK with him.  Nearby innocent civilians, referred to as “collateral damage” were also inadvertently killed when an enemy combatant was killed with a drone.

Because President Obama could be so charming and was such a persuasive speaker, it’s hard to believe anything negative about him, so one must look at his actions  and not simply listen to his rhetoric.  A number of civil rights organizations, including the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, had denounced his signing the Bill into law.  To date, it appears that the President had gone even further in using this authority.  One well-known example of this is the imprisoning of the person who created the DVD that allegedly insulted Islam, and the Obama Administration contended led to the rioting that led to U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans being killed at the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.  Of course we now know that the DVD had nothing to do with the rioting.

Strengthening the military was one of the tenets that President Trump ran for President on.  However, building up the military  should not require doing anything unconstitutional.  We will know soon.

 

 

 

CAN REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES TALK?

Conservative policies work well:  under Ronald Reagan, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the United States almost doubled in the ten years following the day his tax rate reductions went into effect; and Reagan’s build-up of the military and his “star wars” project led to the break-up of the Soviet Union, as well as the U.S. ability to shoot down missiles with missiles (despite ardent  continuous opposition by the Democrat Party to prevent its development).

The aforementioned are just two examples of many conservative policies that have turned around the U.S..  If you include the States, conservative policies have turned around the economies of every State where they have been tried.  One need simply look at States with Democratic governors and compare them to States with Republican governors to see the drastic differences between the two.

Why, then, do Democrats win any elections?  I contend that it’s because Republicans can’t talk very well (and often are not politically astute as well).  How do I know? Twenty-three years in Toastmasters, International, giving 275 prepared speeches, giving 500+ extemporaneous speeches, 500+ speech evaluations, etc.  Morever, in my various positions with the Federal Government I’ve given scores of presentations.  In addition, as a teenager and young adult in the Boy Scouts and as a counselor and Unit Leader at summer camps, I’ve given hundreds of presentations.  I’m also a political junkie who loves and follows politics and who also has a Masters degree in Government Administration (MGA) from the University of Pennsylvania.  That makes me qualified.  Now let’s look at a few examples of what I mean by poor political Republican speech:

1)The Republican Party has “tax cuts” as one of the policies its candidates run on.  The Democratic Party turns this into a slogan that Republicans want “tax cuts for the rich.”  What should the Republican Party do?  My first suggestion is to modify the slogan to accurately state “tax cuts for everyone who pays taxes.”  And since 1/2 the country doesn’t understand why the government would cut taxes when you need more money, I suggest the slogan be “cuts of tax RATES for everyone so that commerce and its revenues to the government increase and grow.”

2)Most Americans don’t know the difference between budget deficits and the National debt.  So when President Obama talks about reducing the deficit (by raising it to over a $ trillion and then cutting it in half), Republicans need to be articulate by referring to annual budget deficits which are then added each year to the total national debt.

Looking to real examples…the Republican Primary debates in 2016 that were held in Cleveland and hosted by Fox News, with help from Facebook, provide great examples of the adroit and articulate use of language in order to be clear in what you mean: Carly Fiorina in every comment she made, Marco Rubio in everything he said, John Kasich on explaining his views on gay Americans, Mike Huckabee in explaining why Social Security benefits should not be cut, Chris Christie shouting down Rand Paul on NSA surveilance, Donald Trump saying that you need a man like me to eliminate the $19 trillion National debt.

Of course Donald Trump became the Republican Presidential nominee in the 2016 General Election and subsequently elected President of the United States.  Although he wasn’t great as a communicator, Secretary Hillary Clinton was worse.

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FIRST 100 DAYS

Whether you agree or disagree with what President Trump is doing, there is little disagreement that he has done a lot since being sworn in as President on January 20, 100 days ago.  If you disagree (like media pundits Judith Miller and David Gergen), you probably have either not been paying attention or have been only watching CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, or MSNBC, since those T.V. stations usually do not report the positive actions the President has taken or downplay/twist his accomplishments.  On the other hand, brilliant journalist Chris Wallace, son of the late great journalist, Mike Wallace, said that President Trump has done more in his first 100 days than any other President he’s ever seen.  Here’s a partial list of the President’s accomplishments in his first 100 days in office:

1. Created and announced the largest reduction in Federal income tax rates that the U.S. has ever had.

2. Worked with the Congress in an effort to have Obamacare replaced with a much better and less expensive healthcare insurance.

3. Signed 30 Executive Orders largely directing various Federal agencies to eliminate specific job-killing regulations.

4. Signed 28 bills into law.

5. Selected a great judge to become his first Supreme Court justice (Neal Gorsuch).

6. Appointed an extremely well-qualified cabinet.

7. Decreased illegal alien border crossings by 73%.

8. Dow Jones Industrial Average increased in value by over 6% (increased over 14% since he was elected on November 8).

9. Met with  numerous groups at the White House (businessmen, union leaders, all 100 senators, etc.) in furthering an agenda to increase jobs, etc.

10. Met with numerous heads of State (like Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Japan, England, Germany, Italy, etc.) to improve relations.

11. Re-established the United States as the world leader by bombing a Syrian airfield when Syria used chemical weapons against its citizens.

12. Used the “Mother-of-all-bombs” (MOAB) on ISIS, killing 94, demonstrating that the U.S. is now serious about destroying ISIS.

13. Convinced China to work to stop North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.  China consequently turned back shipments of North Korean coal, placed 175,000 troops on the China-North Korean border and told N. Korea that it would place sanctions on it if there were further nuclear tests.

14. Agreed with Mexico and Canada to attempt to renegotiate NAFTA to make it fairer to the United States.

15. Approved the completion of both the Keystone and Dakota Access oil pipelines thereby saving the more dangerous train and trucking of the oil.

16. Cancelled U.S. participation in the very flawed and harmful-to-the-U.S. Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

17. Etc., etc., etc.

I’ve followed politics since 1960, beginning with the Kennedy-Nixon debates, and have never seen any President do more or work so hard in his first 100 days than President Trump.  Let’s see what happens in the next 1360.  President Trump has become a genuine “Jobs President.”  His policy positions are superb for the United States and his “in-your-face” and negative campaigning style I believe were instrumental in Donald Trump becoming President Trump.  If he continues improving in being more prudent in choosing the words he uses in his tweets and comments, I believe he will change many hearts and minds of Independents and Moderate Democrats and will be re-elected in 2020 by a landside.

 

UNDERSTANDING DEMOCRAT PROGRESSIVE POLITICS (audio interview w. David Horowitz)

David Horowitz is a prolific author, speaker and political activist. His latest book is the huge bestseller, Big Agenda.  It is a pithy book that explains what President Trump plans to do.  Mr. Horowitz currently is the director of “The Freedom Center” which he created in 1988.  He went to Columbia University as well as the University of California at Berkeley and was the editor of the left’s leading magazine, “Ramparts.”  I believe Mr. Horowitz’ greatest asset is his insight into leftist politics.

In my interview with him, he explains why he changed from being a revered and high-level, leftist socialist from 1956 to 1975 to a conservative in the late 70’s, especially considering that his parents were members of The American Communist Party.  Mr. Horowitz tells his spell-binding and compelling story with names, dates, and places.  He tells what motivates the left and gives his views on leftist positions.

In the interview, Mr. Horowitz explains:

  1. Why and what the left hates.
  2. The anti-war activists’ change in their protests against the Vietnam war once the draft was ended in 1974, why many left leaders of the 70’s (John Kerry) have ”blood on their hands,” and much more.
  3. How and why he knows that the Black Panthers killed his accountant, Betty.

If you want to learn more about left politics, you should enjoy this interview.  Click on the red words below to listen to it.

David Horowitz – Political Left Audio

Interview by Mike Russo

HOW TO PAY OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT

The United States currently owes $20 trillion, $10 trillion of which President Obama spent in the 8 years he was President. That debt is an albatross around the neck of the Country and there is little likelihood that it will be even partially paid off anytime soon…or is there?

The richest country the world has ever seen, sitting on top of  huge untapped oceans of oil, natural gas and coal, as well as millions of square miles of publicly-owned land, and we’re the beggars of the world, owing trillions of dollars to China, Japan, and many other countries, including our own Federal Reserve, which creates money out of thin air.  This picture doesn’t make sense but what can be done to change it?

There are many proposals floating around to help address this problem, from a fair tax to a flat tax and the “Penny Plan”.  Ohio Governor John Kasich paid off billions of Ohio’s debt by cutting ineffective programs.  Wisconsin’s Governor, Scott Walker, cut programs and also stopped the Union practice of letting outragiously expensive Union contracts.  Former Florida Governor, Jeb Bush, created many jobs and took Florida from billions in debt to billions in surplus.

Various plans have been tried, some with dire consequences, like the “Sequester” that President Obama suggested and Republican leadership agreed to.  The Sequester has been devastating to the military because it cut budgets across-the-board, both good programs and bad.  There are many expensive Federal programs that are ineffective and do little or nothing, have been around for a long time, and need to be terminated.  Some programs simply need to be revised in order to make them effective and efficient.  But any revising or terminating requires a strong leader. That’s why the 2016 Presidential election was so important.  Not many leaders would cut ineffective government programs and perhaps also expand production of, and then sell off, oil, gas and coal to other countries and surplus public land to its citizens, but I believe that perhaps President Trump will do so to help pay off the National debt.  We’ll see.

Bringing back trillions in cash currently “parked” oversees by American corporations will also greatly help and will occur once the U.S. corporate tax is reduced from its current (highest-in-the-world) 35% down to about 15%.

HOW IS PRESIDENT TRUMP GOVERNING? PROS & CONS

After being President for a month, there appears to be a large difference of opinion on President Trump’s job performance.  As someone schooled in government (Fels Government Center, Wharton School, U of Penn) and with over 40 years of working with the Federal government and some work with a State government and a large city government, I thought I’d use my perspective as a 1/2 conservative, 1/2 liberal on the Trump presidency so far.

To be perfectly fair, it’s probably impossible for a multi-billionaire, married to a gorgeous, successful, wonderful woman, and having raised 5 successful and great children, to be humble.  Therefore, when he perhaps goes a little overboard with bragging about his accomplishments, I understand (but do not condone) President Trump’s comments and call this a “con.”

Another “con” is President Trump’s  being thin-skinned and having to rebut or comment on every criticism.  He gives his enemies credibility by even bothering to comment on their criticisms.  He strongly believes in hitting back which he thinks will stifle more attacks if he doesn’t hit back.  President Trump’s sometimes inarticulateness and lack of precision and specificity is another one of his cons.  A good example is his claim of millions of fraudulent votes in the 2016 presidential election.  He should have immediately followed his comment up with citations to about half-dozen studies showing that he was right and then citing specific examples that people can better relate to, such as comedian Al Franken stealing the Minnesota Senatorial election from Norm Coleman in 2008.  Trump critics accuse him of lying and he and his supporters do not provide enough specifics to counter their spurious claims.   I can demolish any of their claims in less than 5 minutes for each one so I know it’s easily possible.  I’ll cite one example, President Trump’s inaugural swearing in crowd size disagreement: the Obama photo of his inauguration crowd size and the Trump photo were obviously taken from different vantage points, Obama’s from a low height looking out over the podium, Trump’s from the high top of the Washington momument, looking from the back of the crowd.  In addition, the photos were taken at different times of day: the Obama photo at noon when he was sworn in, the Trump photo at about 11 am, about an hour prior to Trump’s swearing in.  I know this to be true because I watched the proceedings all morning.

The “cons” concern President Trump’s personal shortcomings, as well as things that he has said.   Now let’s look at the “pros,” those positive features of President Trump’s presidency. He has done more in his time as President than any other President in American history that I know of.   The Sunday morning political shows were pitiful in explaining this, only looking at legislative accomplishments so far.  Chris Wallace, where did you get your really pitiful questions for Reince Priebus on your 2/19 Sunday morning show?

President Trump used Executive Actions, mostly Executive Orders, to begin getting many things done, like bans from countries that have palty records of vetting citizens, of reversing stupid duplicative regulations that kill jobs and hamper job creation, of enforcing immigration laws, etc., etc., etc.  In addition, President Trump has persuaded many large corporations to pledge billions for new plants and jobs in America.  Moreover, due to his Reagan-like economic plan and pledges from many business leaders, the stock market has increased in value by almost $3 trillion since the day Donald J. Trump was elected president, November 8, 2016.  President Trump has earned the reputation of sleeping only a few hours/night…of being an unbelievably hard-worker.

Whether you agree or disagree with what President Trump is doing, he has already fulfilled many of his campaign promises and has pledged to fulfill them all, perhaps within the first 200 days of his presidency.

OVERCOMING RACISM and DISCRIMINATION

Doesn’t it make you angry when someone treats you unfairly just because you’re black, brown, white, a woman, a man, homosexual, older, younger, disabled, bald, long-haired, short, fat, poor, wealthy, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc. ?  Doesn’t it make you angry?  What would Dr. Martin Luther King say?

In 1790, George Washington said “The government of the United States …gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution, no assistance….”  In fact, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and a few other pieces of civil rights legislation such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, outlaw discrimination based on: 1) race, 2) color, 3) sex, 4) religion, 5) national origin, 6) age, and 7) handicap.  However, there are many other bases for discrimination which are not illegal and are not obvious and therefore are much more difficult to deal with than those which are illegal.  Because I’ve had a lot of experience in this area I thought I’d share my views on how discrimination works and how best to deal with it.

My understanding of discrimination began in 1975 when I became a collateral-duty (side-job) Hispanic Employment Program Manager for my small Federal bureau, which took about 20% of my official work time.  For the other 80% of my work-time, I was a Environmental Planner.   With help from our Field Office employees, we were able to increase Hispanic-American employment in my small bureau from one person to 32 Hispanic-Americans so that my 500-employee bureau was 6% Hispanic-American when I left it.  I received awards for my work from the Director of my bureau as well as from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

When I went to work for another small bureau in the U.S. Department of the Interior as a Program Analyst, I also took a collateral-duty (side) job as my bureau’s Collateral-Duty EEO Counselor, counseling about a dozen Equal Employment Opportunity complaintants, and received my bureau’s first “Outstanding Counselor” award in 1985.

Finally and importantly, at age 25 years, prior to both of those experiences, I had a large brain tumor removed which resulted in 1/2 of my face being paralyzed and numb. Suddenly I looked physically challenged and was easily-identifiable.  This situation gave me the unique experience of being able to compare how I was treated when I looked like most other people versus how I was treated when I looked differently and was easily identifiable as being physically challenged.

HOW EXTENSIVE A PROBLEM IS DISCRIMINATION

In the past, discrimination has led to lynchings because of race, national origin, religion, and other differences;  it has led to the torture and slaughter of six million innocent Jews by the Nazis and the murder of 3000 innocent Americans by Al Qaeda; and to many other atrocities through the ages, including right up to the present with “Flash-mob” attacks and the “Knockout Game.”  Today, however, allegations of racism have become politicized and  therefore many, though unfortunate, are false, like Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin.  A quick and easy way to determine most bogus allegations of racism is to first check if the accuser is a politician or a political adviser or pundit or works in the “race” industry…and if s/he does, then you can assume the allegation is false.  Racism and discrimination does still exist today but it’s a tiny fraction of what it was back in the 1950’s and before.

HOW DISCRIMINATION DEVELOPS

I believe that discrimination evolves because of three phenomena: 1) quick and easy identification of the group being discriminated against; 2) mind set; and 3) selective perception.

Easy identification is the reason why African-Americans, as well as women and most minorities, still are the recipients of some discrimination, though nothing like the situation was even 50-years ago.  The same is true of the fat, bald, unattractive, elderly, and disabled.

“Mind-set” I believe is the second phenomenon that enables discrimination to occur.  It develops when one’s mind, because of stereotyping or some other reason, thinks along certain lines or is “set” to the extent that, even when new contradictory information is brought to light, it is discounted or simply not considered or even not perceived.  Another name for mind-set is “paradigms”.

Once a mind-set exists, selectively perceiving phenomena within the area of the “set” is called “selective perception”.  With discrimination, one would selectively perceive only those phenomena that reinforced the mind-set.

HOW TO HANDLE DISCRIMINATION

What should you do if you experience discrimination?  Getting angry at the injustice is a common reaction.  Some may even think that they now have the right to retaliate.  I can recall a number of massacres motivated by feelings of persecution and self-righteousness in seeking revenge.  However, when the retaliation avenue is pursued,  all parties become victims, especially those exacting the revenge.  To cite just one example, if you discriminate against me, and I become angry and/or vengeful, you would actually now be controlling my behavior by changing my attitude.  Therefore, a much healthier approach is to say to yourself, “People make the most absurd assumptions based on very superficial and erroneous analyses.  They aren’t thinking intelligently.”  Also, “people can think anything they want about me but if they act on their beliefs, then I’ll take appropriate action, from simply shrugging it off to considering the entire range of legal actions and implementing whatever is appropriate for the situation”.

FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE

I have seen firsthand how easy identifiability, mind-set, and selective perception work.  For me they are not simply theories you might read about.  Up to age 25, when I looked like most others, I was treated one way.  After 25, when I looked obviously disabled, I was treated  differently, except from my family and friends.  And even though most people were not even aware of what they were doing, people’s good intentions didn’t help much.

CONCLUSION

Dr. Martin Luther King has told us to “judge people on the content of their character”.  If we do otherwise, we should remember how discrimination works so that we can prevent ourselves from unwittingly engaging in it.  Anyone who looks or is different is at risk of being the victim of discrimination.  The healthiest way to deal with discrimination is to try to understand and forgive those who wrong you.  This will make you a bigger person as well as add years to your lifespan.  To quote Mahatma Gandhi, “Hatred can be overcome only by love”.

POLITICAL TALK IS CHEAP

President Trump is not a great speaker, but thus far he appears to be getting a lot of things done (whether you agree with those things or not).

President Obama, on the other hand,  was a great speaker but his actions demonstrated that he was a poor manager.  Or was he?  If you liked how the economy and his job-creation efforts performed (lowest civilian labor-force participation rate since 1978), and liked the declining strength of the military, and think our foreign policy helped the United States, then you may have believed that the President performed well.

I heard many times each day that “Obama said this,” or “Obama said that.”  However, whatever the President said is irrelevant because his actions told us better than any words how he and we were doing.  When the President said that he thought about the economy every day but didn’t meet with his “Jobs Council” for many months at a time, it’s was  natural to question the President’s sincerity.  When Obama suggested he “felt our pain,” but took Air Force One to New York where traffic was stopped for hours so he and Michelle could have a “night out” in “The Big Apple,” that said a lot more about his true feelings.  Camp David in Maryland was developed specifically for our presidents…it’s a waste that  presidents don’t use it  for their vacations.

What about President Obama’s $800 billion “stimulus” the first year he was in office?  Wouldn’t unemployment have been even worse without it?  Much of the stimulus was a waste of money…only 6% of it went for infrastructure projects within the United States though infrastructure was touted as one of its justifications.  Reality is that much of the stimulus went for failed so-called “green” projects, like Solyndra,  led by his friends and supporters.  The President can certainly “talk the talk,” but he obviously can’t “walk the walk.”  Of course, now the Federal Reserve is pumping billions/month into the economy with nothing to back it…which is why the Stock Market continues to rise though the economy is not doing well.

If you saw the movie, “2016” you may think this is exactly what Obama wanted…larger government, smaller and weaker United States.  I think the creators of that movie gave the President far too much credit…it’s a lot simpler than that…he simply didn’t understand how free enterprise works and that it not only leads to economic success so that a country can afford to take care of its poor and have an effective military, but it is morally and ethically superior to all other forms of government because it gives everyone an opportunity for the satisfying  “earned success,” while taking care of the less fortunate.

The President talked a great game but it’s taking all of the mainstream media, most of Hollywood, most universities and colleges, the Unions, and far-left, multi-billionaire, George Soros’ money, to keep him from not having worse job approval numbers than he currently has.  I believe the only way the Democrats were able to win the popular vote in 2016 was by massive voter fraud in California , which goes back to “Boss Tweed” and Tamany Hall, which  is part of the heritage of the Democratic Party.  Specifically, California passed a law allowing undocumented immigrants (or illegal aliens) to get California driver licences; and then passed a Motor-Voter law that almost automatically registered them to vote.  A Harvard study showed that in 2008, 6.4% (certified), (14% uncertified) of illegal aliens voted.  I believe these numbers will be dwarfed by the 2016 numbers.

President Trump is not a great speaker, but he seems to be a great doer, insofar he has gotten a lot done.  We’ll see if he stays the course or reverts to a usual politician who is all talk and no action.

 

 

VOTER FRAUD IS RAMPANT!

THE PROBLEM: 1.8 million deceased individuals listed as voters;  2) 24 million voter registrations no longer valid or significantly inaccurate (see February 2012 Pew Center Issue Brief);  3) in many U.S. counties there are more registered voters than there are residents (see Judicial Watch’s “A Citizen’s Guide to Ensuring Free and Fair Elections in 2016 and Beyond”); 4) most Democrat politicians push to eliminate all voter identification to vote…guess why;  5) a California  law that allows non-citizens to have driver licenses and then the California Motor Voter law automatically registers them to vote when they receive or renew their driver license; 6) voters in Philadelphia being intimidated by New Black Panther party members who were not prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department (see J. Christian Adams’ book, Injustice);  7) U.S. Senatorial race in 2008 being stolen in Minnesota by Democrat Al Franken through boxes of “found” paper ballots after election day ;  8) the U.S. Presidency being stolen in 1960 by Joseph Kennedy, President Kennedy’s father!  9) men and women in the military routinely being sent ballots so late that it’s impossible for their votes to be counted in time;  10) absentee voting becoming the voter fraud of choice because it doesn’t require voter ID; 11) countless other elections at the Federal, State and local levels being stolen; 10) 2.7 million voters fraudulently registered in two states, 68,000 voters fraudulently registered in 3 states; 12) Pennsylvania currently has no requirements for voter identification  (see February 2012 Pew Center issue brief;  see John Fund’s books:  Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk; and  Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy);  13) Harvard (CCES) study shows 6.4% illegals voted in presidential elections and 2.2% in off-years.

ANALYSIS: Who’s responsible for this National disgrace and travesty?  The governments at the Federal, State and local levels are the culprits!  It’s not due to incompetence but to dirty/criminal politics and it’s long overdue to be corrected before Americans lose all faith in the integrity of their elections.

Even in the Iraqi elections a decade ago voting was much more honest than the United States.  How can that be?  Iraq had a very simple but effective system which was devised by the U.S. military: when Iraqis voted they had to dip their index finger into a jar of indelible purple ink…and this was solid evidence that they had voted.  In the United States, on the other hand, registration proving that you’re eligible to vote is required first.   What evidence is required to register to vote?  In Colorado, a utility bill with your name on it was sufficient.  Of course this is ridiculous because you  don’t have to be a citizen in order to receive a utility bill…and in addition, if you have more than one home in different counties, you’ll have separate utility bills for each home (you get vote twice if you’re dishonest).

Many politicians say that they don’t want to place an undue burden on its citizens by actually requiring that they show a photo ID, such as a drivers license (which is even required of people of questionable age to buy a pack of cigarettes).  What a crock!  Does anyone really believe that lax registration standards have any purpose other than facilitating fraudulent voting?  It is important in a democracy for people to have faith in the process by which their leaders are elected, so care must be taken that it’s done honestly and that politicians are kept far away from the process.  Voter fraud is not new, but dates back to the beginning of our Republic (see Andrew Gumbel’s book, Steal This Vote)

THE SOLUTION: For now, a photo ID, either in the form of a driver’s license or a State-issued photo ID should be mandatory in every state in order to vote.  Later, perhaps a slight revision and an addition could be made to the on-line E-Verify system created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in concert with the Social Security Administration that is currently used by employers to ascertain whether someone is in the U.S. legally.  Something like a “Voter Photo Authentication.”  Something must be done to prevent criminal politicians from continuing to corrupt our elections.  It’s government’s fault that it got this way and it’s  government’s responsibility to clean it up.

WHY PUTIN & RUSSIA RESPECT PRESIDENT TRUMP: CHINA!

Why in the world would Vladimir Putin be a Trumpster?  Putin used to want a weak America, an appeaser.   Trump is not a weak leader so why would Putin want Donald Trump to become President of the United States?  “China” is the answer to that question!

China is on the move.  Its economy routinely grows at about 10%/year (compared to less than 2%/year for the last 8 years in the U.S.).  Its military is expanding exponentially and China has nuclear weapons.  It also has approximately 1.3 billion people, about 4 times the population of the United States (Russia’s population is 143 million).  On the other hand, Russia and China share a border of thousands of miles,  Mother Russia needs a big, strong friend in the event its neighbor to the south becomes aggressive towards it, which China’s phenomenal military build-up makes a distinct possibility.  Moreover, China is concerned about Russia, especially after Russia militarily annexed Crimea.  President Trump will make the U.S. very strong again which I believe Putin believes he might need at some point, a very strong America, to counter the Chinese threat to Russia.  On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s base (her voters) would not have allowed her to strengthen the military, even if she wanted to do just that.  To place each country in perspective, it’s important to know where each country stands insofar as military spending.  Here’s the stats on annual military spending (for 2016) by the three players:  U.S.: $596 billion;  China, $215 billion; Russia, $66 billion.

When you look on the globe at military conflicts around the world, the common denominator is between countries that share a common border.  Russia and China share about 3,000 miles of border, therefore, even though the U.S. and Russia have not been friends in the past, they now share a common cause (fear of China) which I believe is causing Russia to want closer ties with a strong United States.

While both Russia and China are communist countries and they both have been behaving aggressively (China by building islands in the South China Sea and placing military installations on them),  they have had disputes over their common border.  Beginning March 2, 1969, border skirmishes began and lasted for months with thousands killed.  In the early seventies, President Nixon visited and befriended China to counter the Soviet Russian threat.  It worked and from then until now, China and the United States, though competing economically, were on relatively good terms.  Russia, on the other hand, has been an adversary.  President Trump knows that, so when he compliments Putin by saying that he is a strong leader, he means that he puts his country first.  Many people believe President Obama often did not put America first.  President Trump and President Putin appear to have gotten off to a good start.  If their relationship grows even better, both the U.S. and Russia will be a lot better off.

DEMOCRAT PARTY & OBAMA POLICIES FOOLED US TWICE

I didn’t vote for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012.  In 2008 it was a very difficult choice for me because I had devoted many years to fighting racial discrimination and eagerly wanted to vote for the first black President.  However, on eight of the top ten National issues, I disagreed with Obama’s positions, so I couldn’t vote for him in good conscience.  Though I didn’t vote for Obama, I believed what he said about his being “post-partisan” and wanting a “transparent” Presidency.  While there were some rumblings on the right about Obama really being a far-left radical, I was unconvinced and believed his message of “hope and change.”  By the 2012 Presidential election, I had become convinced that President Obama followed Democrat policies which destroyed many businesses and jobs, and made health insurance unaffordable for anyone who paid for Obamacare themselves.

Eight years after electing Barrack Obama president, President Obama had a record of a number of failures, of wasting trillions of dollars, of race relations being much worse than when he became President, and of focusing on a health care system that was far worse and much more expensive than most Americans could afford.  After eight years of Obama, we had a Civilian Laborforce Participation Rate the lowest since 1978, 62.8% and a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) whose growth did not reach 3% annually for his entire presidency.  Calling President Obama economically incompetent doesn’t come close to describing the situation accurately.  I started following elections in 1952 with President Dwight Eisenhower.  Of the eleven Presidents I have followed since then, President Obama is the worst.  He was unqualified to be President, in part, because he had no executive, managerial, leadership, or even administrative experience.

Now we’re in 2017 and the economy is slightly improved but still not healthy. “But he’s done his best,” you might say.  President Obama’s best was simply not good enough.  He’s was in over his head.  He is a good father and husband, and I’m sure he was a terrific community organizer, but his policies as President have been a disaster and therefore whoever ran as the Democrat nomiee in 2016 should not have been elected because Democrat policies simply did not work.  However, far more important than President Obama’s lack of any relevant qualifications and having had many failures as President, is the fact that he was constantly untruthful to the extent that nothing he said could be trusted as being accurate.  What does this have to do with other Democrats who might run for President in the future?  Everything!   Most democrat policies are very destructive.  There is no war on women (see my post, “War on Women”), no longer very much new man-made Global Warming (see my post, “Global Cooling”), not much racism (see my post, “Obsessed with Race”), a phony gun issue (see my post “More Guns, Less Crime”), etc., ad infinitum.  I spend over six hours/day following national and political issues, and have my Masters degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania, so it’s easy for me to know who knows what they are doing and who does not (and President Obama doesn’t know, economically,  and has surrounded himself with economic advisors who all believe in Keynesian economics although it has never worked).  Though the U.S. was fooled twice by President Obama and the corrupt Democrat Party in 2008 and 2012, I don’t intend to be fooled by them again.  Let’s see what President Trump and the Republican House and Senate does.

CONSEQUENCES to the U.S. from PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES

 

President Obama meant well.  He sounded sincere and touted “fairness” as his primary concern in his governance of the nation.  However, it’s true that “the road to hell is paved with people with good intentions.”  In plain English, it almost doesn’t matter if the President was sincere  and meant well if the results of his policies were to cause great  harm to hundreds of millions of people.  The percentage of Americans with full-time jobs (“Civilian Labor-force Participation Rate”) has not been as low as today (62% of civilian labor force) since the late seventies and if unemployment statistics were calculated the way they were in the year 2000, unemployment would be about 10%.  If they were calculated the way they were during the Great Depression, unemployment would be over 20%.  Below is my analysis of those major policies of President Obama that destroyed the American dream for many Americansand which President Trump and the Congress need to reform:

A. OBAMACARE/AFFORDABLE CARE ACT: This  law is a wet blanket on the economy. While I’m for good healthcare, and for insuring people with pre-existing conditions as well as kids up to the age of 26 years-of-age on their parents insurance, Obamacare is a bureaucratic nightmare with much more expensive premiums for most people, and unbelievably-high deductibles and co-pays.  This turns most Obamacare policies into catastrophic care only because most people will never meet their deductibles and will therefore be paying out-of-pocket for most of their healthcare.  This turkey needs to go and hopefully will be replaced with something created by a combination of Senators and Representatives from both major political parties.

B. IMPEDING ENERGY PRODUCTION:  A decision on the Keystone pipeline was made for political reasons.  Oil production on government land was significantly down, however, basically because the environmental lobby was against all fossil fuels.  Meanwhile, America has more gas, oil, coal, and shale oil than all of the countries in the Middle East combined but government regulations prevent most of it from being developed.  The wealth created by all of this energy could pay off the National debt, the trillions in unfunded liabilities, and produce an economic boom the likes of which no country has ever seen.  And as thoroughly, scientifically, and irrefutably proven in David Archibald’s, Twilight of Abundance, the warming trend of the earth over the last century, up until 18 years ago when it stopped,  is due mostly to Sun Spots and Solar Flares, not to the burning of fossil fuels.  

C. DEFICITS/NATIONAL DEBT: President Obama doubled the National Debt (from $9 trillion to $20).  The Federal government is still borrowing billions/month from the Federal Reserve so the annual budget deficit is currently over 1/2 trillion dollars/year.  Each year the Annual Budget Deficit is added to the total National debt and currently the National debt is about $20 trillion.  This amount of deficit spending and National Debt is unsustainable. The Federal Reserve  has the authority to print money and by doing so has been able to get away with this huge deficit spending,  but doing so without the backing of gold and/or legitimate loans from other countries, simply inflates our currency.  The U.S. dollar is currently the world’s “reserve currency,”  but our borrowing and spending may eventually change that.  When it occurs, the dollar will immediately decrease in value by about 30%, our credit rating dramatically reduced and interest rates on our borrowing dramatically increased, and our ability to borrow severely curtailed.

D. REGULATIONS:  Regulations are necessary in our society but government needs to be very careful in not over-regulating since this can and does add significant costs to the economy, negatively impacts business creation, and reduces freedoms.  The regulations written pursuant to Dodd-Frank, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the Affordable Care Act  (“Obamacare”), among many others, are excessively burdensome to people and the economy.  ESA, for example, has caused the destruction of most crops in California’s Central Valley due to the Delta Smelt, a small fish on the Endangered Species list. Dodd-Frank is a financial nightmare that does nothing to prevent future bank problems.  Obamacare has and is destroying jobs.

E.  HIGH TAXES:  Money taken from the economy in taxes should be limited because it hurts the economy.  Tax money should be used only for legitimate purposes.  Higher taxes is a drag and drain on the economy so  government needs to be careful to spend it wisely.  Lowering tax rates on everyone who pays taxes in order to stimulate the economy is the preferred way of increasing tax revenues and growing the economy to pay for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, etc.

F. CORPORATE TAXES:  A significant Obama policy  that has unintentionally done  harm to many people is the retention of the 35% corporate tax, which is higher than any other country in the world.  This has led to the flight  of many U.S. corporations and businesses to other countries, and with this flight, the jobs and taxes that go with them.  They need to be reduced to 15-20%.

G. PROLONGED UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS:  Extension of the duration of unemployment benefits for more than  12 months is very harmful to the unemployed as evidenced by studies showing  the unemployed usually do not even look for jobs until a few weeks prior to their unemployment benefits expiring.  At one point, Obama, in conjunction with a Democrat Congress, extended unemployment benefits to 24 months. “Compassion” was the stated reason, but getting the unemployed off of of the official unemployment roles  so that the official unemployment rate would be lowered is the real reaon.

H., I., J.,K., L., M., N., etc.

In closing, most Americans were proud that the U.S. elected an African-American President 151 years after the Emancipation Proclamation freed  American slaves, even if they personally did not vote for him.  The United States inherited slavery from England when it took over the country in 1776 but had to temporarily retain slavery  in order to form the Union to include Southern States (the “Great Compromise”).  At the first opportunity, the U.S. rid itself of slavery (in 1863).

The first African-American President unfortunately had no experience in managing anything or in guiding an economy and therefore the U.S. consequently is badly hurting economically.  While I believe President Obama meant well, he also still believed that failed liberal/”progressive” economic policies (“Keynesian economics”) were the way to stimulate the economy and therefore turned a blind eye to workable economic policies.

President Reagan demonstrated how to get an economy working and the proof is the fact that the Gross Domestic Product (which measures the size of the economy) of the United States almost doubled 1n the 10 years following Reagan’s implementation of his large reduction in tax rates (1983-1993) and curtailing Federal regulations.  President Kennedy also stimulated the economy during a recession in the 60’s by cutting tax rates.

 

 

DID MAINSTREAM MEDIA DESTROY OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY?

The Press is supposed to help keep politicians honest by keeping the public fully informed through its First Amendment rights.  However, when the Media constantly takes one side by not  even reporting the opposing  side, and being tough on one side and asking “baby questions” to the other (eg., “How does that make you feel?”), it no longer is meeting its Constitutional responsibility.

During President’s Obama’s presidency, for example,  the Press reached new lows in incompetence. Obviously, most people, including the media, have a point of view and there’s nothing wrong with that…unless bias manifests itself by the Press not doing its job…not asking tough questions of both sides or by not reporting news that makes its favorite side look bad.  And though the liberal press may have thought it was helping the President by not airing anything that appeared disparaging to his Presidency, it actually did President Obama  a disservice by not giving him tough feedback in its articles and opinion pieces.  If the Press did so, the President and his Administration would have had the information it needed to make course corrections in the implementation of its plans and goals for America.  It appeared that the President wanted to do good, but that his lack of managerial and administrative experience led him to be a failed President.

There are some journalists, both liberal and conservative, who do their job despite their political orientation.  Examples of tough but fair journalists are Chris Wallace (son of Mike Wallace of “60-Minutes” fame, now deceased), Kirsten Powers, Pat Cadell, and Doug Schoen, whom I believe are liberals. Excellent and fair Conservative journalists include Charles Krauthammer, Brit Hume, and George Will, among many others.  How many so-called journalists can live with themselves or even remain employed by the media is difficult to understand.

Most mainstream journalists didn’t always report only one side and/or misreport the other side.  The clearest and best example of a great journalist turning one-sided  is Chris Matthews.  Decades ago Matthews was such a great and fair interviewer to the extent that I couldn’t decide if he or the legendary Tim Russert (of “This Week” fame,  now deceased) was the best interviewer on TV.  Then President Jimmy Carter was a guest on Matthews’ TV show.  On the following Matthews show, Chris told the audience how Carter (who Chris has worked for when Carter was President) criticized him for not being ideological.  Slowly, but surely, Matthews moved to the left and then further to the left to the extent that he frequently does a great imitation of being a certifiable Crazy.  If Matthews can morph into a Crazy, are any of us immune?

The American public is not being well-served by hearing only one side of important issues.  If a journalist “can’t do the job, we got to get rid of him or her.”  How do we do this?  Send emails and letters to the newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc. when they publish or say something one-sided.  Incidentally, Pew Research says that Fox News (not its opinion pieces, just its news) is the most even-handed.  The four major commentators of night-time Fox News shows are  “opinion journalists” and are touted as such and therefore are not counted when measuring even-handedness.   One calls himself a “traditionalist”(O’Reily), two are onservatives (Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson), and one a liberal (Megyn Kelley).  However, they all have guests with views that oppose their views and this makes for very entertaining and interesting TV (and it’s good to hear both sides of every issue).

The Conservative sides of the arguments are very interesting and pragmatic. Listen to or read their positions from Conservatives to accurately learn their positions on creating  jobs, stimulating the economy, Climate Change, foreign policy, Keystone XL Pipeline, minimum wage, media bias, immigration, so-called “war on women,” etc.

An Eagle needs both wings to fly, as does an airplane…and so does analyses and arguments.  Both sides need to be presented for intelligent analyses of issues.  Can mainstream media do it?  Probably not; therefore citizen journalists and talk radio need to step up and do the job and push out the incompetent journalists by giving brilliant analyses and commentary.

Mainstream media believed it helped the President, but his ultimate failure and disgrace was at their hands, mostly because the Press failed to do its job, which was not supposed to be to protect him, but to give him useful critiques, in its reporting and opinion pieces. This is a real shame because Obama was our first black President and it would have been great if he were successful.

President Donald Trump won’t have the problem with the Press.  They will help make him the greatest President in U.S. history by being merciless in trying to destroy him.

 

 

 

 

TRUMP’S ECONOMIC PLAN: REDUCE TAX RATES TO INCREASE TAX REVENUE

 How can soon-to-be President Donald Trump pay for a trillion dollars in infrastructure improvements that he is advocating and still eliminate Budget Deficits and eventually the National Debt?  Few politicians explain this so I thought a U. of Penn Wharton graduate (me), who should know this, would explain it.  Many are concerned that the huge proposed infrastructure spending and proposed tax cuts will force the U.S. further into debt.  If you simply look at the economy as static, this would be true.  However, the economy is dynamic, not static.  Therefore, when you change some things, like reducing corporate taxes from the current 35% to President-elect Trump’s 15%, as well as reducing taxes on the middle class by about 1/3, this stimulates businesses in many ways, bringing back U.S. business and investment money to America and stimulating new businesses and the growth of existing businesses.  In addition, President Trump proposes imposing a 35% tax on any products companies try to sell in the U.S. if that company leaves the United States to make its products in another country.  Therefore, Trump’s economic plan  has both a carrot and a stick.  Moreover, Trump will repeal and replace Obamacare, which is a huge drag on the economy and businesses hiring full-time workers.

All of this resulting economic activity will result in a huge increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is a measure of the size of the U.S. economy.  The taxes from this huge growth in economic activity, though the tax rates are reduced, will result in tax revenues being vastly increased.  President Ronald Reagan did this in the 80’s, as well as reduce regulations, and GDP consequently almost doubled in size within 10 years from the time that Reagan’s tax rate cuts went into effect (1983).  President Kennedy also did this in the 60’s.

GDP growth is extremely important because, with 4% annual GDP growth, the United States can afford to do what needs to be done without having annual budget deficits, that at the end of each fiscal year, are added to the total national debt.

However, the potential monkey-wrench in Trump’s economic plans, is that whenever the Federal Reserve significantly raises interest rates, which is likely to happen soon, a recession could follow.

PAY OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT BY BECOMING ENERGY INDEPENDENT

Few would disagree that it is a worthy goal for the United States to achieve energy independence, and even better, become a major energy exporter and pay off the national debt with the wealth we created from the proceeds?  Most would agree that achieving this goal with little or no air or water pollution would be a good thing for the U.S. and for the planet.  Wouldn’t it also be great if the U.S. had no national debt?

In 2013, the U.S. spent 388 billion dollars to buy oil from foreign countries, some of which are using our money to fund terrorist activities against us…and money that could otherwise be used to help stimulate the American economy and create jobs for Americans.  At the height of the Arab Oil Embargo in 1973, dependence on foreign oil was about 35%.  In 2013, dependence on foreign oil was 32%.  In other words, our dependence on foreign oil has slightly decreased in 40 years.

So what can and should the United States do, if anything?  I see two sides of this issue: 1) does the U.S. have the oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, wind, solar and hydroelectric power to be self-sufficient and also export oil, gas, and coal; and 2) can we access, use, and sell some these energy sources in an environmentally responsible way?

From my research, it appears that the U.S. has over 100 years worth of natural gas, three times the oil stores of Saudi Arabia,  and 250 years worth of coal which the U.S. is now capable of burning using carbon capturing technology, with significantly reduced carbon-emissions.  Currently the U.S. gets about 18% of its energy from nuclear sources and a small amount from hydroelectric, solar and wind.

While the U.S. is furiously attempting to develop its solar and wind energy capacities, they won’t be significant sources of energy for at least 25 years.  We need to have sufficient energy now to fuel our economy, heat our homes,  as well as make gasoline abundant and affordable to power our cars and trucks (electric-powered cars run on electricity mostly generated by burning coal, the most polluting fossil fuel) .

There is no question that the U.S. is blessed with more energy than any other country.  Given the latest technologies, there’s also no question that we can extract and burn oil, gas and coal in an environmentally-sound manner.  The only hindrance is political.  There are a  number of people who believe that burning any fossil or carbon fuels, even the green fossil fuel…natural gas, is bad for the environment.  They have been effective in preventing oil exploration in ANWAR, in stopping the use of oil shale (although the oil from it can be extracted in-situ), and in preventing the licensing of new nuclear power plants (which are much safer than those old reactors in Japan, or the one in Pennsylvania (Three Mile Island… that had a partial meltdown in 1979). There are even prohibitions against drilling for oil even 1oo miles from our Florida and California coastlines.  Of course, China and Cuba are drilling  for oil 60 miles from our Florida coastline.  And of course the U.S. has loaned Brazil two billion dollars so that it can explore off of its coastline.

Finally, Canada was an economic basket case in 2009 and decided to get serious about drilling for oil because it needed the revenue.   It worked, and Canada is now doing very well.  Perhaps its neighbor to the south (the U.S.) will do the same.  Under Donald Trump’s presidency, America will finally become energy independent and also significantly pay down the National debt.

 

PRESIDENT TRUMP WILL CREATE JOBS & FIX THE ECONOMY

After most recessions, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth comes back with  a strong minimum 5% increase/year.   But not this time…annual growth averaged under 2% for the past 8 years and the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate diminished to 62.8%, the lowest it has been since 1978.   Moreover, the official unemployment rate is under 5%, but would be about 12% if it were measured the way it was back in the year 2000, and over 20% if it were measured the way it was during the Great Depression in the 30’s.

So what’s wrong this time?  Why not the usual strong growth?  Business has a few trillion dollars that it’s holding onto oversees, so why isn’t it spending its money to expand its operations and create millions of jobs?  There’s a lot of  reasons why business has been cautious in expansion…and we need to understand what the problem is in order to turn around the economy and foster substantial job growth.  Of course, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is filled with disincentives to job growth, especially full-time jobs, so it’s largely responsible. The large number of new regulations and tax increases also adds additional burdens on job creators and that’s the other major cause.

But who am I to be pontificating on jobs and the economy?  Well, I do have a masters degree in Government Administration from the University of Pennsylvania.  And my degree is from the Wharton School in the U. of P., which is known for its econometric models of the economy.  To be clear, however, my education was in government, not economics, though I did need to have economics and accounting courses as well as a statistics course in order to graduate from Wharton with my MGA long ago.  I also worked for the Federal government for over40 years in various capacities, and have also worked for the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia.

FORMER  SUCCESSFUL QUICK RECOVERIES

Let’s put aside education and experience qualifications because, from my observations, ideology trumps education.  I’ve seen PhD’s advocate  really stupid positions, even in light of contradictory evidence.  So I tend to look at the real world, what actually happens when a particular economic policy is followed and practiced.

I’ll start with the policies used by President John F. Kennedy in the early 1960s.  When confronted with a recession, he cut tax rates which led to increased economic growth and recovery.  In addition, when President Ronald Reagan inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression from President Jimmy Carter in 1980 (unemployment over 10%, inflation 13.5%, mortgage interest rates up to 20%), President Reagan cut tax rates to the extent that GDP almost doubled in ten years and tax revenues to the Federal government greatly increased in the 10 years following the tax rate cuts.  President George W. Bush had a similar experience with tax rate cuts, revenues to the Federal government significantly increased.

PAST FAILURES

Let’s look at what actually happened when the opposite approach was used:  it is estimated that President Franklin D. Roosevelt doubled the duration of the Great Depression in the 1930’s by using the John Keynes economic model of increasing government deficit spending and the US still did not even get out of the Great Depression until World War II.   Moreover, when Japan’s economy went bust in the 90’s, it spent trillions over a 20-year period trying to stimulate its economy.  The huge deficit spending did nothing except give Japan a large debt.

WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA TRIED

Which brings us up to today when President Barrack Obama spent almost a trillion dollars in his “stimulus” package in a effort to turn around the economy…and also devalued the dollar by having The Federal Reserve Bank print trillions of dollars with no backing through it’s so-called Quantitative Easing 1, 2, and 3.  He also tried other short-term Federal spending programs such as his “cash for clunkers” and engaged in huge annual deficit spending, the extent of which has never been seen before.  His economic policies, based on the discredited theories of economist, John Maynard Keynes,  have actually have made the economy worse by piling up huge government debt (over $19 trillion in total national debt which is greater than the annual GDP of the US), with very little to show for it,  and whose interest payments will be unsustainable when interest rates increase.

Let’s look at other factors significantly adversely affecting the economy, such as oppressive government regulations.  One of the reasons for President Bill Clinton’s economic success in the 1990s was his significantly cutting back many Federal Regulations (as well as the reduction in government employment through attrition) as part of his “National Performance Review” initiative.  President Obama’s policy, on the other hand,  on preventing drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, has resulted in 240,000 barrels/day less oil from the Gulf  which would have led to large increases in gasoline prices were it not for oil companies engaging in horizontal drilling and fracking on private and State lands.  Another example of over-regulation is the Dodd-Frank bill, the stated purpose of which was to prevent future financial meltdowns…but it did not even deal with the cause of the meltdown, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who threatened  and coerced banks into making housing loans to people who could not afford to repay them.  Dodd-Frank also had adverse impacts on small banks and dried up loan money for small businesses that would have otherwise been available to them to expand.

Then there’s Obamacare that is being implemented which has been estimated to actually cost the government up to 3 trillion dollars in the first 10 years, as well as lead to very expensive, rationed and inferior health care.   Then, of course, there’s EPA’s over-regulations, such as the one on carbon dioxide, which as we know, is an inert gas, the chief purpose of which is food for plant life, which turns carbon dioxide into oxygen.  Moreover, let’s not forget how hundreds of thousands of farm hands were suddenly unemployed when the US Department of the Interior shut off the water to California’s Central Valley in an effort to protect the Delta Smelt (a small fish) that was on the Endangered Species list.  All of these things have severely hurt jobs.  Finally, extending unemployment benefits to 99 weeks actually increased unemployment because studies show that, on average, unemployment benefit recipients don’t even begin looking for work until 4 weeks prior to the end of their benefits.

IS CUTTING TAX RATES FAIR?

But cutting tax rates isn’t fair, is it?  Even President Obama said in an interview a few years ago, when confronted with the fact that cutting the capital gains tax rate in the past has actually resulted in increased tax revenues to the Federal government, that he still would not cut the capital gains tax rate because “it wasn’t fair.”

So is it fair to cut tax rates even though we know that the result would be to increase tax revenues?  The nation would then have more money to help the poor, not less, so why not do it?  I can understand the “equality” argument but  is it really a good thing if everyone were equally poor as they are in many countries?   “So what” if there are some super-wealthy people…we know that in the United States they will eventually give most of their money to charity anyway and do it much more wisely than the Federal government!   Winston Churchill said that  capitalism is a bad form of government except that it’s better than all other forms of government.

THE SOLUTION

Cutting  tax rates and regulations have always worked in the past and would stimulate the economy and thereby create many jobs.   Political ideology is the only thing preventing our government from following these time-tested strategies.   Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Bush all increased tax revenues by cutting tax rates for everyone.  Today, the bottom 50% of earners pay no Federal income taxes…the upper 10 %, on the other hand,  pay 70% of all Federal income taxes.  If you believe that’s not enough, how much is enough?  The U.S. corporate tax rate is currently 35%, the highest in the world, and consequently has led to many businesses moving their operations and jobs to other countries and caused the United States to lose many jobs.  It’s estimated that there are at least 3 trillion dollars off-shore that we could entice back to the US if we offered a zero corporate tax rate for the first few years and a contract stating that the businesses would remain in the US for at least another 5 years.  The US needs to put ideology aside and focus on solving the nation’s economic problems.  Although  President Obama can appear very friendly, his policies have really hurt the United States, so it’s time for newly-elected President Trump to: 1)try approaches other than very large amounts of Federal deficit spending and to forget about raising taxes on anyone in this under-performing economy; 2)approve the Keystone pipeline and begin granting permits for oil wells in the Gulf and on Federal lands; 3)rein in the Environmental Protection Agency on over-regulations; 4)eliminate job and small business-killing regulations; 5)cut corporate income taxes from their current 35% (the highest in the world) to 15% to lure back the large number of businesses that moved overseas to escape the U.S. confiscatory taxes; and 6)repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).   I believe that President Donald Trump will do these things and by so doing will fix the economy and create jobs.

WATCH THE MOVIE, “HILLARY’S AMERICA” TO GET OVER HER DEFEAT

 Rules for Radicals.  It mentions that president Obama taught the deceptive and unethical Alinsky tactics. It depicts the deception of Obamacare, Hillary’s role in silencing Bill’s sexual predations.  Dinesh interviews Carol Swain, Professor at the Vanderbilt University Law School.  Professor Swain (who is an African-American) is an expert in the history of race relations and civil rights and said that after the Civil War the purpose of the Democrat Party was to re-establish white supremacy.  The movie shows how the Clintons worked Hillary’s position as Secretary of State to make a fortune for themselves as well as their front “charity”, the Clinton Foundation.

The movie ends on a beautiful and positive note and should dry up any tears you might have for Secretary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump.

WHY DONALD TRUMP WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT? BACKBONE!

I’m sick of the media explaining that Donald Trump did well because of their many (half-baked) ideas and therefore I felt compelled to write this post, however, I must say that targeting blue-collar workers and rust-belt states was clever.

My credentials for saying what I’m about to say are simply that I’m a conservative, a graduate of U. of Penn’s Wharton School (but with a MGA , not an MBA), and have over 40 years employment with the Federal, a State and a city government.  I believe that Trump supporters support  him for the same reason that I like him:  the man has a stiff spine and is not timid.  When he’s criticized by the Press or political opponents, he doubles-down and fights back even harder.  In addition,  Trump’s focus on illegal immigration, the $19 trillion in National Debt, weakened military, Obamacare, anemic war on terror, tiny growth in the economy, etc. has touched a nerve with the electorate.  He’s truly a “Blue-collar Billionaire.”

Mitt Romney lost the 2012 Presidential election to President Obama because he refused to fight back.  He was more than capable, as evidenced by his outstanding performance in his first debate with President Obama.  When viciously attacked by the Obama campaign, he refused to fight back.  Governor Romney’s poor performance came on the heels of Senator McCain’s poor performance in the 2008 Presidential campaign.  Moreover, it followed President Bush’s unwillingness to fight back when constantly accused by the Left that, “Bush lied, people died.”

I’m not advocating picking stupid fights that can’t be won and simply receiving a black eye, but I also believe in not backing off when Democrats make false allegations.  For example, I believe that Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, are often given bum raps when they don’t push a Bill in Congress that they know won’t pass.  However, there is a time to fight but Republican leadership doesn’t appear to have the stomach for it.  When there are good and rational reasons for not fighting, the Speaker and the Majority leader need to explain this on Fox News and other news outlets that are fair, otherwise don’t blame voters for thinking they are jellyfish-spine Republican Congressional leaders.

Donald Trump is a streetfighter.  “Turning-the-other-cheek” is not for successful politicians.  Trump is improving  his messaging and appointing impressive people to help him develop his policies.  He had a resounding victory over Hillary Clinton, thanks to his strong backbone. If he’s able to implement the policies he advocated in the election, he will go down in history as being one of our greatest presidents.  Congratulations and good luck Mr. President-Elect.

OBAMACARE EQUALS NO HEALTH INSURANCE

Without subsidies, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is unaffordable for most people.  Because it is so bad, many are looking for a President Trump to repeal and replace it with something much better and much less expensive.  When fully implemented in 2017, most Americans will not receive subsidies, which currently total about $60 billion/year.  Incidentally, because employers are not required to provide heath insurance for part-time workers, most new jobs being created  in the U.S. are part-time.  While this makes the unemployment roles look good, it has been a nightmare for most Americans.

I’ve been a supporter of universal healthcare since the year 2000 and, although I did not vote for President Obama in 2008 and 2012, I was hopeful that he would make good-healthcare-for-all a reality.  It did not cross my mind that Obama  would promulgate legislation that would destroy healthcare for many more Americans than it might help.  It also did not occur to me that healthcare premiums would double, triple, or even quadruple…and that deductibles would be as expensive as twelve thousands of dollars/year and co-pays double…and that all of these consequences combined would have the cumulative effect of destroying healthcare for tens of millions Americans.

Let’s give the creators of Obamacare the benefit of the doubt and assume that their hearts were in the right place, and that the passage of the ACA was not simply an attempt of government takeover of 1/6 of the U.S. economy.  The Affordable Care Act  has demonstrated that it is not affordable and is pitiful health insurance…it was poorly and incompetently designed and executed.  It reminds me of  the homily that “an elephant is a mouse designed by committee,” but in the case of the ACA, designed by one political party in Congress.  Okay, so it’s time scrap it and start over.  No problem!  Right?  Wrong!

But wasn’t Obamacare  designed to be like Romneycare, which was passed by Mitt Romney when he was governor of Massachusetts?  That’s what the politicians say to justify Obamacare, but that’s “Bull”.  Romneycare only affected about  8% of the Massachsetts population or about 6.5 million people.  Obamacare covers everyone except those exempted by the President, or about 300 million Americans.  Romneycare does not have penalties or mandates that Obamacare does. The very few good aspects of Obamacare, pre-existing conditions and coverage on parents insurance until age 26, can be simply added to new health insurance Federal legislation.

Although Obamacare  is clearly very bad and expensive health insurance, except for those receiving significant subsidies or exemptions,  the U.S. may end up being stuck with it. The reason is totally political.  One sixth of the economy is healthcare, soon to be controlled totally by politicians in 2017  The ACA or “Obamacare” is a politician’s dream come true but the average American’s nightmare.  With thousands of dollars required for deductibles before reimbursement by insurance companies kicks in, Obamacare for most ends up basically being only catastropic health-care insurance, which is important and necessary, but not something one should pay a lot of money for.

The final opportunity for Obamacare to be either repealed and replaced will come with the 2016 Presidential election.  Only if Republicans control the Presidency, the Senate and the House of Representatives will Obamacare be replaced with healthcare that is affordable and truly cares about people.

 

HILLARY CLINTON vs. DONALD TRUMP

The Clinton and the Trump campaigns are close to an end after being hard-fought.  Currently, Clinton is doing better in the media-run polls than Trump, though Trump is doing better than Hillary in the most accurate-in-the-past polls, and his rallies are getting larger than his usual large crowds.  Note that one of the recent WikiLeaks “John Podesto” emails told the media how to rig polls to make it appear that Hillary was trouncing Donald (this was done to achieve a “bandwagon effect”).

Multi-billionaires, like Donald Trump, obviously don’t get to be wealthy by being stupid.  However, Trump is prone to rhetorical excesses. He is the populist anti-establishment candidate, called by his son, Eric, a “blue-collar billionaire”.

Hillary Clinton has an interesting hand because she was President Obama’s Secretary of State, however she has developed into a good debater and speaker.  As the WikiLeaks “Podesto” emails have exposed, as well as many more credible sources, Hillary Clinton will do almost anything, no matter how corrupt or illegal, to win the election and become President of the United States.  Moreover, the FBI has re-opened the investigation of her having classified information on her private computer server.

On policy, Trump has the advantage because Obama’s policies have hurt medical care, foreign policy, the military, the economy, Israel, etc., and Hillary, as Obama’s Secretary of State, is closely allied with Obama’s policies.  On the other hand, if you only watch NBC, ABC, or CBS, you have’nt heard about these negatives about Obama (so Obama’s shortcomings don’t really matter that much).

There are many reasons for electing “your” candidate, but here is the strongest reason for supporting either Clinton or Trump.

o for Clinton: if you like Obama’s presidency, you’ll like Hillary; however, you’ll have to overlook rampant corruption in a Clinton Administration (past performance is the best indicator of future behavior).  Hillary Clinton should be better than Obama was as commander-and-chief of the military.

o for Trump: he would appoint at least 3 conservative Supreme Court justices, his economic plan would double the size of the economy (Gross Domestic Product or GDP) within 10 years after his policies are put  into effect (which is what happened under President Reagan), he would fix illegal immigration, and he would repeal and replace Obamacare.

I’m a political junkie because much of my education and interests were about government and my jobs were with the Federal, a State and a city government, where elected political leaders were in charge.  I know both sides of every issue and therefore know who is fabricating and twisting facts to support their policies.  For the sake of everyone on the planet, I pray we make the right decision in selecting our next president.

 

SIMPLY UNETHICAL OR REALLY CORRUPT DEMOCRAT PARTY?

In the old days, political candidates would tell voters what they stood for and voters would vote for those who they agreed with the most.  With the advent of polling and the use of focus groups, politicians now know in advance what the voters want and most tailor their speeches and “promises” to tell voters what they want to hear.

Politicians usually refer to this as “spin.”  Up to a point, it is spin.  But many politicians simply lie about their real intentions before they are voted into office…and go far beyond “spin.”  This is deceit and unethical but many partisan political people are easily deceived, partly because they want to believe whatever “their” politician and political party is peddling.

How does one find out which politicians are telling the truth and which ones are conning the public?  Start with being skeptical of all politicians.  Look at their record because what they’ve done in the past is the very best predictor of what they’ll do in the future.  Finally,  don’t be fooled by great and inspiring speeches.  We live in a sophisticated and complicated age where not much in politics is what it seems.  

“Okay,” you may say, but “do you have any current examples of “unethical politics?”  I do, but shouldn’t we first define “unethical?”  Let’s just jump in with specific examples and you, the reader, decide whether some behavior is unethical or not.  You should be able to verify every example I cite on the Internet. Let’s go:

The Republican Party or GOP (Grand Old Party) is also known as”The Stupid Party.”  The Democratic Party is also known as “The Treason Party.”  Here’s why…when it comes to political strategy, for whatever reason, the Republican Party is naive, but not stupid.  When it comes to issues related to national defense, terrorism, and the economy, the Democratic Party has demonstrated that it is not only very weak, but its policies actually make things much worse.  But these are superficial labels and characterizations, so let’s go deeper and more substantive so, for the sake of time and brevity, I’ll simply cite just a few examples that I consider unethical:

-1.8 million dead listed as voters; 2.8 million people registered in 2 states; 68,000 people registered in 3 states.  Most were Democrats.

-6.4% illegal aliens voted in 2008.  Most voted Democrat.

-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for  political reasons, not providing for the rescue of U.S. Ambassador Chis Stevens and other Americans in Ben Ghazi on September 11, 2012. 

-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for carelessly handling “Classified” information in her e-mails and consequently putting American lives at risk.

-Secretary Clinton for deleting 33,000 emails from her server after receiving a subpoena to provide all of her emails to a Congressional Committee.

-President Obama, for political reasons, destroying affordable healthcare for millions of Americans by imposing huge deductibles and very high premiums.

-President Obama, for political reasons, not pushing for a “status of forces” agreement with Iraq and consequently not leaving a small contingent of American troops to protect the victory that we won there (and ISIS consequently taking over much of Iraq and Syria).

-Former Attorney General Eric Holder for colluding with the IRS to target conservative groups.

-Former Attorney General Eric Holder for the “Fast and Furious” operation that has led to many innocents being killed by assault rifles it provided to Mexican drug cartels.

-The IRS for targeting conservative groups almost exclusively for political reasons.

-The Democrat Party for orchestrating and funding violent demonstrators at Trump rallies.

-The mainstream media for serving as an arm of the Democrat Party and thereby jeopardizing our democracy (see Bernard Goldberg’s books,  “A Slobbering Love Affair,” “Bias,” and “Arrogance”).

-The Democrat Party for fabricating the phony “war on women.” (read Katie Pavlich’s book, “Assault and Flattery”)

-The Democrat Party for blaming climate change on carbon emissions rather than addressing the real upcoming global cooling which is due to solar flares and sunspots, specifically weak Solar Cycles 24 and 25 (read John Casey’s book, “Cold Sun,” David Archibald’s book, “Twilight of Abundance,” and John Casey’s book, “Dark Winter.”).

-The Democrat Party for its racist history starting hundreds of years ago and up to the present (read Ann Coulter’s book, “Mugged” and its phony “voter suppression” charges as a pretext to be against Voter ID efforts and legislation.

-The Democrat Party for its phony gun debate, thus endangering the lives of millions, especially women  (read John Lott’s book, “More Guns, Less Crime”).

-The Democrat Party for stealing millions of votes (see Andrew Gumbel’s book, “Steal This Vote,” and John Fund’s book, “Who’s Counting, How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk”).

-The Democrat Party for constantly claiming that the rich don’t pay their “fair share” of Federal taxes when the fact is that the top 10% of the wealthiest pay 70% of the Federal taxes.

-The President, Democrat Party, and the “Left”  for trying to suppress free speech (see Kirsten Powers book, “The Silencing”)

-The Democrat Party for turning into a political-unethical organization intent on seizing and retaining power at any cost (see David Horowitz’ book, “The Shadow Party,” and Dick Morris’ book, “Power Grab”).

-The Democrat Party for being pro-slavery, pro Jim Crow laws, pro Klu Klux Klan for over 100 years, finally ending with honest President John F. Kennedy (see Ann Coulter’s book, Mugged).

-etc., etc., etc.

It’s possible that any politician can become corrupted and lie through his/her teeth to the electorate.  America needs two major honest political parties.  Democrats need to do whatever needs to be done to return their Party to the honesty of their former Democratic President, John F. Kennedy.  The health of the United States and all of its citizens depend on it.

RIGGED ELECTION: TRUMP IS THE LAST CHANCE EVER FOR A (MOSTLY) CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENT

Some Republican politicians this year are not supporting Donald Trump because of Trump’s rhetorical excesses, because they don’t consider him a true conservative, and because of his “locker room” comments from 2005.   Some Republican politicians  figure that, if Hillary becomes president, they can always regain the Presidency in 2020, but is this realistic?

Today, the “open borders” policy of Hillary Clinton (2/3 of immigrants vote Democrat), and her plan for huge increases in Muslim refugees (90% of which will vote Democrat), as well as a Clinton Supreme Court probably ruling that a photo ID is not required to vote (and the consequent increase in voter fraud from today’s 4 million fraudulent (Democrat) votes, 2016 is the last year that a Republican can become president of the United States.

Consequently, beginning in 2020, it really is a waste of time to even bother holding another presidential election.  We will have Democrat presidents for the foreseeable future.  So all of those Republicans who are not supporting Donald Trump this year and then plan to elect a true (establishment) Republican in 2020, are deluding themselves.  If Trump is elected president this year he will build the wall on our southern border and stop illegal immigration, help ensure that photo ID’s are required to vote, and purge registration roles of deceased voters and people registered in more than one State.

So what’s a voter to do if s/he doesn’t like Hillary or Donald for president?  List your ten most important issues and rate both Hillary and Donald on each of those ten issues.  You might have to listen carefully to discover what each candidate has to say on each of your ten issues.  Then you need to consider what Hillary and Donald have accomplished in their lives.  Finally, you need to think about how honest they are and then tally their total score.  Whatever nominee receives the highest score you vote for.  Try to avoid even considering non-issues like racism, sexism, or climate change since these issues are phony for these candidates.  Do understand, however, that if Donald Trump is not elected in 2016, there will never be another Republican president and that, with Hillary Clinton selecting the next three or four Supreme Court justices and the consequent loss of your individual right to own a firearm, the United States will move far to the left, default on the National debt, and government corruption will become even more rampant than it is today and move closer to becoming a Venezuela-style country.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: PROS & CONS

Who can be against a livable wage and why would they possibly be against it?  That’s what this post is about.   President Obama raised the minimum wage for Federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10/hour.  It covers future Federal contracts only and therefore won’t affect many workers right now.  The President has urged Congress, however, to pass legislation to cover all minimum wage employees in the U.S.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has recently reported that if the minimum wage were to be increased to $10.10 nationwide, or a 40% increase, about 500,000 to 1,000,000 million minimum wage employees, from the current pool of 16,500,000 minimum wage employees, would lose their jobs because employers could not pay it and remain in business.  Recently, however, the new proposed minimum wage has jumped to $15/hour.  The specific effects of such a raise have not been officially calculated, but it would surely result in millions of “minimum wage employees” losing their jobs because many employers could not afford to pay it and remain in business.

So why do it?  The main argument is that it’s not a “living wage,” that no one can live on and raise a family on that wage.  Sounds like a reasonable justification but, of course, we need to look at other sides of the argument before reaching sound conclusions.  I already cited one of the primary reasons why not to raise the minimum wage too high…the loss of about 1,000,000 minimum wage jobs; however, another significant reason is that it would almost shut down the first step on career ladders for unskilled workers…to the extent that they couldn’t even get that first job, get their foot in the door…because their work would not be worth $15/hour.  In addition, since only 15% of minimum wage employees live in poverty households, raising it would do little to reduce poverty.  Finally, many businesses, like restaurants, are very sensitive to the minimum wage and when that wage is increased substantially, restaurant prices increase substantially, which hurts the business or makes it fail (so the end result may be the elimination of jobs).  Moreover, it’s far more accurate to call “minimum wage” the “starting wage,” because that’s exactly what it is for most people.

It appears that labor union leadership and consequently the Democrat Party is the only beneficiary of dramatic minimum wage increases with everyone else being harmed; therefore, gradual increases in the minimum wage may be able to satisfy genuine concerns of the minimum wage argument.

The best way to raise everyone’s wages the most is to create a booming economy like they have in North Dakota where $15 is the starting wage in fast food restaurants because of the huge competition for employees that North Dakota’s great economy fostered.

 

IS CAPITALISM ETHICAL? DOES SOCIALISM WORK?

Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, celebrities and academia advocating Socialism, unemployment and underemployment, the National Debt increased by $9 trillion (to $19 trillion) during Presdident Obama’s 7 & 1/2 years, annual GDP growth under 2% for Obama’s entire reign, …ad infinitum.  Is Capitalism to blame for America’s woes or is it the solution to our Nation’s economic problems?

Let’s take a closer look, first with very brief definitions of Capitalism and Socialism so we’re all clear on what we’re talking about.  From the book, ‘isms and ‘ologies by Arthur Goldwag, Capitalism is the “free exchange of goods in a competitive marketplace.”  In that same book, “Socialism” is defined as the opposite of Capitalism.  Further, “In socialist economies, the means of production are either controlled by or directly owned by the state…”

Capitalism is fueled by a motive to make profits and it does this by providing goods and services that consumers want and at a price that can beat competitors’ prices who also provide similar goods and services.  This forces capitalists to constantly improve quality and undercut competitors’ prices.   Socialism eliminates the profit motive and therefore satisfies some people’s altruistic side and also attempts to redistribute wealth from the “haves” to the “have-nots,”  satisfying some people’s idea of fairness.  Because in Socialism there is no continuous need to improve efficiency and effectiveness, there usually is significant waste and inefficiencies.  Capitalists would argue that they earn their profits, attending college for many years and then working 70-80-hour workweeks… and it’s their taxed profits that enables government to have the money to help others.

Capitalism creates wealth,  which then is taxed and used to help the poor and needy.  Socialism makes equality of outcome most important, consequently leading to everyone being equally poor with no large sums of funds available for government and charities to help those in need.  Socialism takes away the incentive for people to work hard and excel to provide for themselves and their families.  The top 10% of the wealthy pay 70% of all Federal taxes.  The lowest 50% of taxpayers pay no Federal income taxes.

Government is usually the culprit behind much fraud, unemployment and economic downturn and  is responsible for our current economic woes.  Loans to people unable to repay them was the precipitating event that caused the 2007-8 economic downturn.  Quasi-government Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac forced banks, with threats of lawsuits, to make those bad loans.  Therefore, to have the government fully control the economy is insanity.  Government does not understand business, does not understand how jobs are created, does not comprehend how many of its regulations, especially “Obamacare,” are destroying the economy.

The Dodd-Frank Bill, proposed by and named after two of the most significant initiators of the 2008 economic downturn (Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd), is truly absurd.  For all of its harm to small banks and to the economy, it doesn’t even address the cause of the downturn, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

So, let’s answer our two basic questions, “Is Capitalism Ethical”, “Does Socialism Work?”  Capitalism is a huge engine for job creation and wealth to the extent that the Pacific Rim countries have embraced it, as well as China (and they are all becoming wealthy fast)…and there’s nothing unethical about making a reasonable profit for providing goods or services.   Socialism, on the other hand,  can be forced to work, but at the cost of civil liberties, prosperity, unemployment, and political interference in all aspects of your life.

Finally, how about some people becoming billionaires?  Is it ethical for anyone becoming that wealthy?  Huge wealth is certainly a possibility under Capitalism.  However, very wealthy people pay most of the taxes and also give much of their wealth, after providing for their families,  to charities, which use it more wisely than the government ever will. Finally, if you still have a problem with Capitalism, then call it “free enterprise” which means the same thing but is more descriptive and uncontroversial.  And if you’re still unconvinced if socialism works or has ever worked, just check out what’s happening in Venzuela, and if you think Socialism is great, then vote for Hillary Clinton and be prepared for the continued decline of the United Styates.

 

 

CHOOSING A PRESIDENT

On November 8, 2016 we Americans will make a decision that will likely he one of the most important decisions of our lifetime: who to vote for to be the next President of the United States.  Many believe that politics is stupid because of all of the partisan bickering that goes on.  That may or may not be true, but it’s irrelevant…our next President will make decisions that will affect not only us, but our children and grandchildren as well.

The following criteria for selecting a President is non-partisan.  I came up with them after looking at everyone else’s and concluding that those criteria are inadequate.  My qualifications for doing this are: I followed politics for over 50 years, my Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania is in Government Administration, and I’ve worked for the Federal, State and local governments for 44 years.  My 6  criteria for choosing a President are listed below and are prioritized and listed in the order of their importance, so #1 is the most important and #6 the least important.

1. INTEGRITY: one of the most important qualities but not so common in many politicians.  This is important because the President may ask us to go to war or to make some other sacrifice, so we need to be able to trust him or her and not think that whatever is being done is for political purposes.

2. POSITIONS ON ISSUES:  this criterium might also be called “ideology”  and is really the most important reason why one should select one presidential candidate over another.   The problem with it is that many politicians are adroit at lying, obfuscating issues and at pretending righteous indignation.

3. EXPERIENCE: there is no job exactly like the presidency but there are some jobs that provide relevant experience.  It’s not a coincidence that seventeen of our U.S. Presidents have been Governors of a State.  Being a Governor provides the best experience  for the presidency, however any executive or managerial experience is relevant and useful.  Legislative and legal experience is useful.

4. EDUCATION: A masters degree in either Business or Government Administration is probably the most relevant education a President could have.  A law degree is helpful.

5. OPEN-MINDEDNESS:  In U.S. politics, the politician is either on the left or the right and this ideology  can be constraining at times for finding the best solutions to a problem or dilemma.

6. PUBLIC SPEAKING and CHARISMA: for his “bully pulpit” duties, a President would be well-served by being a master of the spoken word…and if he or she is charismatic as well, so much the better.

You may agree or disagree with my 6 criteria or perhaps you simply may want to add a few more.  Whatever…but it is important to have criteria (or standards) to use, otherwise you’ might do what many people do: vote solely by political party, vote because of something irrelevant like age, gender, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, or emotions.  While most elections don’t matter that much, the upcoming Presidential election will determine if our huge $19 trillion National debt will  place us into the league of the great civilizations that eventually bit the dust by going bankrupt.

 

IF YOU’RE NOT A LIBERAL AT 20…; IF YOU’RE NOT A CONSERVATIVE AT 40…

WW II British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said “if you’re not a Liberal at 20, you have no heart; if you’re not a Conservative at 40, you have no brain.”  What exactly did Churchill mean and is it valid? That’s what this brief post is about.

At 20 years old, people are usually idealistic and usually believe what their mentors (teachers, professors) inculcate into them.  However, the parents of teachers and professors in most of today’s universities and colleges became Liberal in the 1960’s when draft dodgers fled there to avoid the Draft and Vietnam.  Consequently, students today hear only one side of  national issues, and further, are discouraged to even listen to both sides, because the other side is characterized as being racist or sexist or whatever.

At 40 years old, people are usually much more mature, often with a spouse and children, and begin devoting much more time following public issues.  Moreover, they have lived long enough to become much better at recognizing  the lies and deceit engaged in by many politicians.  And because many at age 40 now have children, National issues take on much greater importance with the realization that many Liberal/Progressive policies not only don’t work, but actually do great harm to the people that they supposedly are intended to help.

I’m 50% Conservative and 50% Liberal.  That does not mean 50% Republican and 50% Democrat.  What’s Liberal or Conservative about $19 trillion in National Debt?  What’s Liberal or Conservative about health care that is a confusing, disorganized, and unaffordable the way Obamacare is configured?  What’s Liberal or Conservative about a weak military or a foreign policy that punishes our allies and rewards our enemies?

At 73, I’m in the last part of my life, and I’d love to leave this world knowing that the U.S. will be OK, but I’m not there yet.  Most young people scare me because they can vote but know less than nothing about the issues…less than nothing because much/most of what they think they know is misinformation.

I don’t mean to sound critical, because it’s natural for the young to spend their time pursuing mates, getting an education and starting a career.  However, on November 8, 2016, America will either turn around and become vibrant again, or finish its journey onto the trash heap of history.  Which scenario plays out might depend on the young, which is the group whose future would be the most devastated by another Democrat President controlled by big-government statists.

Another famous British citizen, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said it best:  “The problem with socialism is that, sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.”  The U.S. is very close to running out of being financially able to borrow more of other people’s money.

 

OBSESSED with RACE!

Mike Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, etc., etc.   The first incident due to a policeman protecting himself from being killed; in the second incident, the police being overzealous and inappropriate in its enforcing a minor infraction of the law.  Both incidents had nothing to do with race, but months later the U.S. is still agitated from them, and other incidents,  to the extent that two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, were ambushed and killed for revenge while sitting in their police car. Why?

Americans are obsessed with race!   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that his dream was that one day his four little children will live in a nation where they will be judged, not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.  In other words, a “color-blind” society was his dream.  The opposite has and is taking place even though race relations in the U.S. for most people have never been better.   Politicians and their minions call anyone a racist who disagrees with them on anything, whether or not it has anything to do with race.   Moreover, the government encourages discrimination in many, many ways including something so minor as requiring race and ethnic information in order to get medical care (I refuse to provide it calling it “racist” on the form).

My credentials for stating the above: while working for the Federal government for over 40 years,  I volunteered to perform three “collateral-duty” jobs that took up to 20% of my official work time, each for a minimum of five years.  Two of the three involved fighting racial, ethnic, and gender discrimination.  In one of my collateral-duty jobs, I was instrumental in increasing Latino employment by my Federal Bureau from under 1 % to 6% of the workforce (as the Hispanic Employment Program Manager); in the other collateral-duty job, I counseled about a dozen minorities and women in seeking remedies for alleged discrimination (as an EEO Counselor).  Each of these positions required extensive training which I was happy to take and I performed well, to the extent that I received EEO awards from my bureau and the Department of Interior.   These experiences, plus working at my father’s butcher shop (with a 99% African-American clientele) when growing up, working as a counselor at a camp with 50% African-American “campers,” and attending a Junior High School with 50% African-American students, gives me a far better perspective than most white Americans in understanding race relations.

My perspective on race relations today versus throughout the past is that relations have improved significantly in the past 60 years.  But if my perspective is accurate, why is racism such a major concern today? Is it really politics as I stated earlier?  Author of the book, The Big Black Lie, Kevin Jackson, blames the Democratic Party in its attempt to convince voters that Republicans are racists.  In his book, Wrong on Race, Bruce Bartlett enumerates the Democratic Party’s history of racism.  Most recently, author of the book, Mugged, Ann Coulter, gives a very detailed account of racial demogoguery from the seventies to Obama.  My own experience and observations validate what I read and make me hopping mad.  The pain and suffering by all parties has been perpetuated for political gain.  I also agree with Dinesh D’Souza’s book, The End of Racism, that the American obsession with race is fueled by a civil rights establishment that has a vested interest in perpetuating black dependency.

Will this obsession with race ever end?  Only when the deception behind it is fully exposed and widely acknowledged.  Unfortunately, that day may never come.  What would Dr. King say?  Nothing…I believe he would be  in tears!

Let’s go back in time to when African-Americans were freed from slavery and see what Booker T. Washington, born a slave, who established the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to educate and train African-Americans and was the most prominent African-American in his day (1856-1915), said in his book, “Up from Slavery”:  “…the policy to be pursued with reference to the races was, by every honorable means, to bring together and to encourage the cultivation of friendly relations, instead of doing that which would embitter.”  What is happening today is the opposite of what Mr. Washington advocated and is being done mostly in order to keep 90% of African-Americans voting for the Democratic Party.

 

IS CLIMATE-CHANGE DUE TO SOLAR FLARES OR IS IT MAN-MADE?

Global warming, cooling, or climate change: terms that have been politicized to the extent that one has to question the sources of all data and facts cited to prove or disprove: 1) whether global warming, cooling or climate change even exits, and if it does, 2) is it man-made or caused by something else or a combination of both.  Further, if it does exist and is mostly man-made, 3) how bad is it and, 4) can anything be done to significantly stop it if it’s  bad enough to warrant being stopped.  If we can answer each of these concerns, then we’ll know what to do, if anything.   Here’s my analysis:

1) Whether the earth is warming, cooling or staying the same basically depends on the point in time you select to compare this year’s  earth’s temperature to.  For example, a few hundred years ago the earth went through a “Little Ice Age” (1280-1850 AD) so of course today’s temperatures would be  warmer than then.  You may cite the melting Arctic glaciers as other evidence of global warming.  OK, but you need to consider that glaciers wax and wane over time and when Arctic ice is waning, Anarctic ice is waxing.  In other words, climate constantly changes (there was a “Medieval Warm Period” from 900-1300 AD and it was a few degrees warmer than today’s temperatures).  Over thousands of years the Earth has cooled and gotten warmer and cooled and gotten warmer, etc.  In fact, the Earth has had 5 major Ice Ages over the past 2 billion years,  5 periods of serious global cooling.

2) In the last few hundred years some data suggests that the earth appears to have warmed and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased, so a case can be made for there being a correlation between the two.  Remember, however, correlation doesn’t mean causation.  Scientists do know that there is a significant correlation between Sunspots and weather on earth.  However, how much of the recent warming is due to CO2 and how much is due to Sun spots and Solar Flares is suggested by the fact that although atmospheric carbon dioxide has increased, the earth’s temperature has remained almost the same, which suggests that carbon dioxide has little or no effect on the earth’s temperature.

3) Is any global warming, cooling, or climate change cause for alarm and action?  Thus far, it’s been relatively minor and any slight increase in the earth’s temperature is probably a good thing…more crops, better weather.  Of course, the adverse effects  from the previous huge California drought, specifically the lack-of-water problem in California’s Central Valley was 100% man-made by former President Obama’s policy of manipulating stored water for the Delta Smelt, a small fish on the Endangered Species List, rather than use it for the cropland and farmers that lived there and for the thousands of migrant farm workers that helped harvest their crops.  Insofar as extreme weather activity is concerned, the past half-century has seen fewer major hurricanes and extreme tornado activity in the United States.

4) Can anything be done about global warming , cooling or climate change if  it gets really bad in the future?  Sure, there are various ways to reverse global warming but not global cooling.  My preference is, if there is global warming,  the geoengineering proposals that seem preferable because they affect every country equally and do not harm any country’s economy.

So what should be done now, if anything?  “Watchful waiting” is in order but everyone needs to endeavor to get global warming or climate change out of politics because it should be solely a matter of science.  The Kyoto Protocols were rejected by the U.S. Senate in 1997 by 95 to 0.  And well they should have been, because the largest polluters, China and India, were exempted.

Recall the “Hockey Stick graph” scandal in which a team led by a professor at the University of Virginia created a graph  that eliminated data depicting the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period  in an effort to support the global warming hypothesis.  Then the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) actually and unbelievably included the misleading graph it in its Third Assessment Report.  Therefore, I believe it prudent to be very skeptical of any data depicting global warming or cooling.

With help from the Sun, the Earth’s climate changes constantly and gets warmer and then cooler.  People contribute some, but for the most part it appears the Sun is to blame.  From my course in meteorology at Penn State University,  I  learned that “yes, climate changes all of the time…that is the very nature of climate…”  However, large sums spent on projects that attempt  doing something about it are not warranted until there is solid evidence and that we can significantly do something about it (unlike the political and do-nothing Paris Climate Accord).  Currently, claims of global warming are: 1) a ruse to give climate-study contracts to friends who will pay back significant sums (“kickbacks”) to politicians, and 2) used as a rallying cry by which the Democrat Party attracts and holds young, idealistic people to vote for them.

Data indicates the world is about to enter into a 25-year period of global cooling due to weak Solar Cycles 24 and 25.  Read Cold Sun and Dark Winter by John L. Casey, and chapter 2 (“A Less Giving Sun”) of the book, Twilight of Abundance by David Archibald if you would like to see the research on this.

Is climate change political BS or fact and can anything be done about it to make a significant difference?  We don’t know yet.  If anyone says “it’s settled science,” you need to know that nothing in science is ever completely settled and that I estimate that about half of the scientists disagree with climate-change being mostly man-made.

 

UNDERSTANDING AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLITICS (audio interview w. Kevin Jackson)

I decided to interview Mr. Jackson, author of the book “The Big Black Lie, How I Learned the Truth about the Democractic Party”, (25-minute audio of interview at the bottom of this introduction…click on the red writing below) because he is rare indeed…an unabashed African-American conservative.  Moreover, one won’t hear his views from traditional black leaders or the mainstream media and his views are worth listening to because they have a unique perspective and are interesting.

Mr. Jackson has degrees in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics, was a management consultant for some of the world’s largest companies, ran his own sales organization, and has his own Blog and radio show.  He is a dynamic and elegant speaker who is in high demand for his clarity of thought and expression.

The interview with Mr. Jackson focuses on African-American politics and explores why Mr. Jackson holds the views that he does. He has been on MSNBC, O’Reilly, and Cavuto,  among many others, and has a clear and studied loud message for African-Americans, as well as anyone else interested in the welfare of that community.

In the interview, Mr. Jackson tells us about:

  1. How blacks were sold out by the Democratic party
  2. How to criticize President Obama without being considered a racist
  3. How the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was far more supported by Republican Congressmen than Democratic Congressmen
  4. Why the Democratic Congress failed to revise welfare law even after Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan reported on how its “no man in the house rule” was destroying black families
  5. The origins of the financial meltdown, and much more.

To listen to my interview with Mr. Jackson’s, please click on the Red Link below.

Kevin Jackson-African Americans Audio

Interview by Mike Russo.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE UPDATE: PROS & CONS

When President Obama initially vetoed the TransCanada Corporation’s proposed $7 billion Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline (also known as the Keystone Gulf Coast Expansion Project),  it meant that 830,000 barrels of oil a day would not travel from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf’s oil refineries via a pipeline.  Though a politically popular decision with environmentalists,  it was very unpopular with construction unions, as well as most Americans.

To counter criticism, some from leaders in his own political party, President Obama made an appearance in Cushing Oklahoma on March 22, 2013  saying that he would fast-track any required permitting of the 485 miles of pipeline traveling from Cushing down to the Gulf.  That part of the proposed pipeline is on privately-owned land in the U.S. so President Obama couldn’t do much to stop its construction even if he wanted to.  Without the northern leg of the pipeline, however, the 830,000 barrels of much-needed oil/day wouldn’t be coming from Canada and this leg of the pipeline the President could and did stop because the pipeline would have to cross the Canadian-American border (and therefore required Federal approval).

TransCanada subsequently modified its proposed route through the environmentally-sensitive areas of Nebraska and resubmitted its application.  There was not much remaining that was controversial and the U.S. State Department  found it to have “no significant impacts on the quality of the human environment,” which is the wording and standard contained in the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).

The Keystone pipeline is not simply about oil, but also about  thousands of jobs (estimated to be 20-40,000  construction and 100,000 indirect jobs) and significant positive effects on the economy.  It’s therefore important to analyze President Obama’s decision to determine if it’s mostly political or based on genuine detriments to the environment.

It’s no secret that the far left is anti-fossil fuel because of what it perceives as unacceptable pollution.  To this end, the Obama Administration came out with 5 sets of anti-coal regulations which were estimated to cost the United States  the loss of over one million jobs.  In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is zeroing in on anti-fracking regulations to control the utilization of the huge natural gas reserves (over a 100-years worth) in the U.S.; however,  the far-left contends that its opposition to the Keystone Pipeline  is mainly because of possible leaks from the line.  In addition, formerEnergy Secretary Chu had stated that it would be desirable to have U.S. gas prices at European levels ($8-10/gallon), so that alternative fuels would be more price-competitive.

Carbon emissions in the United States have been drastically reduced over the past 50 years.  Autos emit only a tiny fraction of what they used to.  Coal-fired power plants have been cleaned up.  In contrast, China brings on-line  two new coal-fired power plants a week and these plants, unlike U.S. plants, emit lots of pollution.  Air pollution knows no boundaries, so it’s a lot less polluting to the earth for the U.S. to burn its coal rather than for China.

Solar and wind sources of energy only supply about 5% of the nation’s energy needs.  Hydroelectric supplies less than 10%, nuclear about 19% (France gets 80% of  its energy from nuclear).  So for the foreseeable future the U.S. still needs fossil fuels.  Therefore this dilemma is not really a dilemma at all.  If the U.S. cannot get the oil it needs from domestic sources and help improve the economy and create thousands of jobs at the same time, it will get it from foreign sources and give up to $500 billion a year of its wealth to countries that don’t like us and in some instances mean us harm, and to the detriment of the economy as well.

The United States is constantly improving  extraction and utilization methods for fossil fuels, while continuing to develop alternative sources of energy, including nuclear energy.  The potential for Keystone Pipeline leakage can be mitigated through built-in protective redundancies.  Even the original Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), prepared pursuant to NEPA, published in late August 2011 after three years of preparation, found “no significant impacts” from the pipeline.  If a pipeline oil leak did occur, it’s far easier to stop it and then clean it up, than if a leak occurred from an offshore pipeline.

There’s simply not enough alternative energy, including nuclear energy, currently available and it will be decades before there is, so for now we need fossil fuels and the United States has more natural gas, coal, and oil than any other country in the world, but it also has an array of laws and regulations preventing its access and use.  The pipeline could be raised off the ground, as was the Alaska pipeline, or it could detour around the major 200,000-square-mile Ogallala or High Plains Aquifer in Nebraska and other surrounding States.

If the United States does not build the Keystone pipeline, Canada will build an oil pipeline from the Tar Sands to its west coast and the 830,00 barrels of oil a day will be sold to China and an additional 150,000 barrels of oil a day from the Bakken Formation in North Dakota will have to continue to use trucks and rail to haul its oil south to Gulf refineries rather than simply using a safer Keystone Pipeline to transport it.  U.S. gas prices would have consequently been over $5 gallon by now except for the fact that the U.S. economy has been so weak and Saudi Arabia drastically reduced the price of oil by flooding the world market with it.   Contributing to upward price pressure of oil is the “slow-walking” of permitting of wells in the Gulf,  not allowing drilling in ANWAR and on most of the Outer Continental Shelf, and by OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), who sets world oil prices based on world supply and demand.

President Obama delayed his decision  on the pipeline until after the 2014 mid-term elections, basically because a large Democrat donor (Tom Steyer)  pledged to donate over $50,000,000 to the Democrats if he did so (Steyer actually spent close to $80,000,000).  After the 2010 mid-term elections, the new Republican-led House of Representatives voted to build the pipeline but the still-Democratic-led Senate voted against it.  The 2014 Congress began in January 2015, and both the Republican-led House and now Republican-led Senate approved it, but President Obama vetoed it.

President Trump signed an Executive Order on January 24, 2017 ordering the re-opening of the approval process for the pipeline.  On March 23, the State Department granted a permit for the construction of the pipeline to proceed.

 

 

NOT YOUR FATHER’S DEMOCRAT PARTY!

I’m a Conservative but was not always: I remember discussing the 1960 Presidential election with my father after watching the T.V. Presidential debates, trying to decide who would make the better President, Richard Nixon or John Kennedy.  Both candidates had similar positions on issues. Though inexperienced, Kennedy was youthful, energetic, and good-looking, and came across  very well on television.  Nixon was more dour and did not look good on T.V.  However, my dad and I thought that Nixon’s experience trumped Kennedy’s and that this was the most important factor to consider.

Of course, Kennedy was elected President and governed well.  Although his father, Joseph Kennedy, bought the election for his son by buying votes in Cook County, Illinois, as well as in Texas, President Kennedy, aside from his womenizing, was basically an honest and effective President, and is consequently still beloved to this day by many millions of people.

Upon President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President and served out the remainder of Kennedy’s first term.  His escalation of the Vietnamese war was unpopular but his Civil Rights legislation was (legislation that President Kennedy originated).  Johnson allegedly said that “this will have the N****** voting Democrat for 200 years).  African-Americans had been previously voting Republican for 100 years after Republican President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation (the Democrat Party was the party of slavery, the Klu Klux Klan,  and Jim Crow laws).

After Republican Gerald Ford became President when Richard Nixon resigned in 1974, Jimmy Carter became the next Democrat President in 1976.  Both inflation and interest rates skyrocketed under the Carter Administration and when Carter persuaded the Shah of Iran to allow the Ayitolla Khomeni out of exile in Paris and back into Iran, Khomeni quickly fomented revolution and took over the country.  52 hostages were taken from the U.S. embassy in Tehran, were held for 444 days, and only released 30 minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as President in 1981.  Reagan reduced tax rates (which resulted in the Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. doubling in 10 years), strengthed the military (including the Strategic Defense Initiative (“Star Wars”), and cut back Federal regulations.  All of these got the economy booming.  Republican President George H.W. Bush subsequently served as president from 1988 to 1992 and had U.S. troops push Saddam Hussein’s troops out of Kuwait back to Iraq in the first Gulf War.

Democrat Bill Clinton became President in 1992, governed as a moderate, and was considered a successful President despite his tryst with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.  Under his Presidency there were 4 years of Federal budget surpluses, thanks mostly to Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, and Budget Committee Chairman, John Kasich.

After George W. Bush served as President from 2000 to 2008, Barrack Obama became President in 2008 on a slogan of “Hope and Change,” after serving as a U.S. Senator from Illinois for 2 years, and moved the Democrat Party to the far left.  He was re-elected in 2012 and still serves as President as I write this post.  As President, Obama pushed through the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) that mandated very poor healthcare unaffordable  for all except those receiving subsidies,  the Dodd-Frank law that destroyed 40% of community banks, that shut down many coal-fired generating plants losing about one million jobs, that wasted the Federal budget billions by investing in failed “green energy,” “kick-back”plants like Solyndra, that emphasized man-made climate change instead of sun-caused  climate change, that increased the National debt from $9 trillion to $19 trillion, that decreased the strength of the military to its weakest in decades, that did not leave a small residual military force in Iraq which resulted in terrorists regaining a strong foothold in the region, that negotiated a really stupid deal with Iran which is leading to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and possibly a  nuclear war, and which did not take the threat from ISIS seriously, etc., etc., etc.

From Conservative Kennedy to Far Left Obama, the Democrat Party is no longer the Political Party that your father might have voted for.

“THE DEMOCRAT PARTY LEFT ME”

“The Democrat Party left me” is the rallying cry for many former Democrats!  Why?  When they’re asked that question, the replies are usually, “I was a JFK Democrat when my party stood up to the Russians over missiles in Cuba, and President Kennedy stimulated the economy to get the U.S out of a mild recession.”  JFK knew what to do.  Today’s Democrat Party is obsessed with expanding immigration for “undocumented workers” (illegal aliens) and racism, while its constant over-regulation and over-taxation of the U.S. economy is forcing it to do so poorly that it cannot create good-paying jobs for most new college graduates.  The civilian labor-force employment rate is consequently never been lower.  In addition, leaders voted into office from the Democrat Party have weakened the U.S. military and have not sufficiently helped  allies (Ukraine, Iraqi Kurds) protect themselves from Russia, Iran and ISIS.

The Party was not always this way although it does have a sordid history of supporting slavery, Jim Crow laws, the Klu Klux Klan, and segregation.  Every member of the Klu Klux Klan was a Democrat.  The fact that the Party has the support of about 90% of African-American voters is a testament to the extent of the deceit it has used to hide its positions on white supremacy and racism.  Hillary Clinton has brought the Party to a new low with her quasi-criminal activities, and Barack Obama, through his support of the false narrative of police misconduct, bears substantial responsibility for policemen being ambushed and murdered.

I voted for Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996, but if the Democrat Party doesn’t clean itself up I’ll never vote again for a Democrat.

MORE GUNS, LESS CRIME?

Are you pro-Second Amendment or anti-Second Amendment or somewhere in-between where you’re for reasonable restrictions on gun ownership?  Where you stand on the gun issue really doesn’t matter much because most of the dialog surrounding this issue is simplistic and/or deceitful.

Why?  Because most of the measures which are being discussed and adopted have been proven to be ineffective.  John Lott, author of the book, More Guns, Less Crime, is the very best authority on what works and what doesn’t, but have you heard his name even mentioned in the gun debates.  His research over more than a decade is explained in his book and should be the foundation of gun laws, not the political posturing that is going on around the country aimed at voters and guaranteed to do nothing except make matters worse.  Most people are not expected to know who knows what they’re talking about and who doesn’t, but the media is expected to know, but it doesn’t.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution allowing an armed citizenry was adopted by the Founding Fathers as a safeguard against tyranny.  They wanted this because most democracies in the past commonly morphed into dictatorships, and with a standing army in the United States, this was a real possibility.  Fear of a dictatorial government is just one reason why today emotions are so high surrounding the issue.  Not many politicians will admit it because it sounds crazy, however, this is the heart of the issue: big-government Democrats wanting as much control of guns as possible and limited-government Republicans wanting the minimun amount of control possible.  The major reason for many gun owners to have guns is the capability guns provide in protecting oneself and one’s family.  Other reasons are hunting and target shooting.

Read John Lott’s, More Guns, Less Crime, and you’ll have the information you need to decide what needs to be done to help control gun violence.

BOTH SIDES: the Economy & Jobs

I watched Sunday morning’s political talk shows which made me sick at the inarticulateness  of some journalists and ignorance by many, of all aspects of the issues.  So I thought, as a mostly non-partisan, I’d toss in my two cents worth of analysis.  First, however, let me state both the Democratic and Republican arguments on the economy and job creation.  Here goes… 

DEMOCRAT ARGUMENT: 1. “The Tea Party has swayed the Republican party to its  its extremist positions…if they would support the President in what he wants to do, the economy would improve and job growth would increase.   A Republican Senator said a few years ago that their number one job was to make Barrack Obama a one-term President.  Democrats also say that the Tea Party is racist and it doesn’t like the President because he is Black.”

2. “Many Republicans want to eliminate or reduce Social Security and Medicare while cutting taxes on millionaires and billionaires.  If we would increase taxes on the wealthy,  the U.S. would be O.K. plus the wealthy pay lower tax rates than their employees.”

3. “Through his 800 billion “Stimulus Package”, President Obama turned the economy around.  Things would have been much worse if we didn’t have the Stimulus Package.since the analysis I heard this morning was unimpressive.”

REPUBLICAN ARGUMENT: 1.  “President Obama’s Stimulus helped a little but it was President Bush’s $700 billion “TARP” (Troubled Assets Recovery Program) that preceded President Obama’s Stimulus that fixed the financial markets (1/2 of it was spent by Bush, 1/2 spent by Obama.”)

2. “The Republican plan for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid simply makes these programs more efficient and this needs to be done because they are currently bankrupting the U.S. to the extent that soon they will no longer be able to afford them.  And these efficiences are minor  like raising the retirement age a few years for people currently under 55 years of age, turning the administration of Medicaid over to the States, and Medicare recipients given vouchers so they could purchase private insurance (and save over $6,000 per recipient from the resulting efficiencies).”

3. “No one’s taxes should be increased in our bad economy…it would make it even worse.  By millionaires and billionaires you are really referring to anyone making more than $250,00/year and this is not a millionaire but is an income level that many business owners fall into (and you’ll be hurting them, the job creators).  The top ten percent (over around $350,000/year) pay about 70 % of Federal income taxes.   Their tax rates are lower because tax on captal gains (from stocks) is lower and is lower as an intended incentive for investors to risk their money by buying stocks.”

4. “Republican Senator Mitch McConnell remarked that he wanted to make Barrack Obama a one-term President because he thought that this was the only way to fix the economy and create jobs…nothing to do with racism.  Morever,  the President is the cause of the continued economic problems in the U.S. (current 2% GDP growth vs. what it usually is at this point after a recession, 5%) with “Obamacare,” Dodd-Frank, etc.”

MY ANALYSIS

1.While the President says that he has tried to fix the economy, it  clearly has not worked and the Stimulus has added almost a trillion dollars to our national debt with very little to show for it.  No one even asked basic questions prior to the passage of the “Stimulus,”  such as, “is it worth the cost?”  The President needs to try other approaches.  He has added $9 trillion to the National debt in just over 7 years, which is now totals over $19 trillion.

2. I’m mostly non-partisan and as such believe that it might be a good thing for everyone to have health insurance.  Presently, the poor receive their health care at hospital Emergency Rooms since Federal law mandates that hospitals treat people for free who can’t pay.  The kindest thing that I can say about Obamacare is that, as currently configured, it is unaffordable to the U.S. (estimated to really cost up to $3 trillion the first 10 years).  However, it is much worse than simply being unaffordable,  but that’s  a separate article.   Obamacare is stifling job creation and really needs to be repealed and replaced by something much better.

3.  The recent Dodd-Frank bill  is forcing small community banks out of business and the small loans to small businesses disappearing with those banks thus stifling job creation.  This bill, authored by the two people most responsible for the economic meltdown, needs to be repealed…it didn’t even address the cause of the meltdown, Freddie-Mac and Fannie-Mae quasi-governmental mortgage lending institutions.

4. Many new regulations have been and are being created and implemented by the Obama Administration which have and will continue to kill jobs, hamper new job creation and seriously hurt the economy.  Others fortunately have been defeated, such as Cap & Trade, Card Check, etc.  It really does appear that the Obama Administration simply does not know how to foster job growth in our economy.

The above should be enough information for one to decide who has the better plan for creating jobs and fixing the economy.  You can easily verify on the Net any of the information in my analysis.  However, stay away from political websites if you want objective information and data.

MUGGED: racial demagoguery

I just read Ann Coulter’s book, Mugged, and learned a lot of new information from this lawyer and best-selling author.  None of the information surprised me but it was insightful reading Ms. Coulter’s relentless array of facts.

Basically, Coulter contends that very few of the racial incidents in the last 45 years have been racist (civil rights battles were mostly won before the seventies thanks to the Republican party); instead, they were racial hoaxes, perpetrated  by demagogues for various reasons and motives.

One of the most important facts that Ann Coulter shows in her book, Mugged,  is that all segregationists were Democrats and that the Democratic Party fought against Civil Rights legislation for 100 years going way back to Abraham Lincoln’s time when Lincoln and his Republican Party ran on an anti-slavery platform.  This is not news to we who know American history but is big news to the millions of Americans that have been deceived by Democratic Party leadership and now believe  the racist propaganda it advertises.

Another very important and horrific fact brought to light by Ms. Coulter is that a major consequence of every racial hoax is the slaughter of whites by young black hoodlums seeking revenge for what they hear and believe to be true about the (phony) racial incidents (Google: “Blackout Game,” “Polar Bear Hunting,” “Flash Mobs”).

Why do I believe the aforementioned to be true?  First, because I trust Ann Coulter in accurately portraying the facts.  Second, because I not only worked for many years assisting minorities in combating discrimination as a Federal collateral-duty EEO Counselor and then as a Federal collateral-duty Hispanic Employment Program Coordinator, but also have closely followed many racial incidents, including Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in Ferguson.  In addition, because I have personally experienced discrimination for almost fifty years based 0n my physical handicap (left side of my face paralyzed, numb with left eye sutured shut and left ear deaf).  Since I did not have this malady for my first 25 years, I’m able to compare how I was treated by most people before I had a handicap to after I had a handicap.

“Mugged” gives the details of many racial incidents if you want to explore a racial incident, such as the Tawana Brawley rape hoax with Al Sharpton’s involvement.  Some racism still exists, but there are many politicians and race hustlers  exploiting race simply to get your vote.

INCOME INEQUALITY

A hot political issue this political season is income inequality.  The heart of the debate is that it doesn’t seem fair for some people to make millions while others are living close to poverty.  The government already redistributes wealth through a variety of welfare programs, taxes, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. but advocates want to see a lot more.  Is this fair?  Is it feasible? Are there unintended consequences for even more income redistribution?  Let’s check it out by first reviewing the scope of the problem:  according to IRS data for 2013, the wealthiest 2.4% of taxpayers pay about 48.9% of all individual taxes; however, they also make over $250,000 adjusted gross income.

The United States’ economy is fueled by free enterprise, also known as capitalism.  Being able to make a better life for yourself and your family motivates people to devote the time, energy and work necessary to become financially successful.  This system, however, does result in some being very rich and some being poorer.  Free enterprise, as practiced in the United States, contains economic safety nets to help ensure that no one is destitute.  Even so, some will still be bad off.  Here’s where charities play a large roll, as well as simple government policies, such as those that require that every hospital to treat people even when they can’t pay.

For average income Americans, the Social Security Administration recently reported that 51% of Americans make less than $30,000/year.  This poor record is the fault of the Federal government in over-regulating businesses, in having an absurdly high (35%) corporate income tax rate that forces U.S. companies to relocate overseas where rates are much lower, and having high individual tax rates (since many small businesses file as individuals).  All of these policies are advocated  by the Democratic Party, who, in the same breath, says they’re for the “little guy” and for the poor.

Free enterprise is not perfect but has moved billions of people out of poverty in India, China and other countries. The Federal government is taking the freedom out of free enterprise in the United States.

UNDERSTANDING OFFICE POLITICS

Conventional management education and training have become increasingly more sophisticated.   One area that remains to be fully explored by the academic and managerial communities, however, is office politics. Though largely neglected as an academic discipline, it is usually an essential component of job success, although competence and industriousness are equally important. As Marilyn Kennedy states in her book, Office Politics, Seizing Power, Wielding Clout, 75% of all firings in the business world are political executions.  In addition to its importance to the employee, office politics also can play a significant role in the success or failure of an organization. It consists of all of the interactions among employees in an organization. The fact that managers are frequently naive in recognizing and handling the political dynamics that exist among the staff impairs their ability to manage successfully.

Office politics is important to study because one must understand it in order to effectively handle the political games and power struggles that can interfere with employees careers and productivity.  In the July 10, 1984, Washington  Post “Federal Diary,” Mike Causey reported that of 800 senior federal personnel officers responding to a Merit Systems Protection Board survey, almost one in every five said that they had been improperly pressured by managers to save or fire employees during the 1981 reduction-in-force.

Good management and supervision include an understanding of office politics and power.  Because the phrase “office politics” has a bad reputation, even its beneficial and ethical aspects are not usually the subject of serious attention. Managers, supervisors and employees may not advance in their careers sufficiently because of their disdain for office politics and its prudent use.  If a manager is unaware of and not in control of the politics in his/her office, s/he will not be able to manage his/her employees and programs well. On the other hand, excessive involvement in office politics can drain the energy, time, motivation and productivity that should otherwise go into the job.  Dr. Andrew Dubrin, in his book, Winning at Office Politics, cites five levels of involvement in office politics, from the most political to the most naive. They are: Machiavellian, Office Politician, Survivalist, Straight Arrow and Innocent Lamb. For those who are interested, Dr. Dubrin’s book contains a 100-question test which will show how political you are.

The Types of Office Politics

I classify office  politics into three categories: clean, dirty and situational.  “Clean” (ethical) office politics comprises those things one can do to advance his or her career and get the job done at no one’s expense and without being unethical or immoral. Examples of clean office politics include loyalty to one’s supervisor and working in one’s own interest. “Dirty” office politics is immoral and/or unethical and is something which is done to the detriment of others. Examples of dirty office politics include backstabbing and stealing credit for another’s work. “Situational” office politics, as its name implies, is ethical or not depending upon the situation in which it is used.  A good example of situational ethical office politics is the “fait accompli” (accomplished fact). This tactic simply involves taking an action even though it will not be welcomed by the boss. Later, after reaping the benefits of the action, the employee pleads innocence if the boss questions him/her on it.  The employee tells the boss that s/he didn’t now that it would meet with disapproval. With some supervisors this tactic is sometimes necessary though not without risk. Another tactic is “going over the supervisor’s head.” If the tactic is used on a straightforward democratic supervisor, it is usually unethical; therefore it is considered situational office politics.  Another situational ethical tactic is “withholding information.” White collar workers are knowledge workers and information is their stock-in-trade. There are times, however, when it is ethical to withhold information, such as when a supervisor will take all of the credit for the information supplied and not give the employee proper credit.

CLEAN OFFICE POLITICS

Supervisors

No matter how high a level manager or supervisor you are, there is always someone you must answer to. Therefore, in your role as a subordinate, the keystone of office politics is your relationship with your boss. If you keep your relationship sincere and unmanipulative, you are using clean office politics. Your aim is to help make your boss look good.   There are many clean tactics which you can use to improve your relations with your boss. The simplest is showing your boss loyalty.  Loyalty is reporting only to the boss and not going behind his/her back to others; following and respecting the boss’ direction without grumbling or second guessing; disagreeing with the boss only in private; making efforts to instill the boss’ ideas, plans and actions in other employees; not disclosing secrets about the boss; and standing up for the boss when s/he is the subject of criticism.

While teaching an adult education course in “clean” office politics and power in Washington, DC over a six-year period, I’ve found that loyalty to the supervisor is the most difficult for people to understand, let alone accept and use. Students frequently volunteered opinions, such as “my boss is a fool, I know much more than s/he,” and “I don’t know how that idiot ever got his/her job.” Perhaps much of what I hear about supervisors and managers is true; maybe many of them are incompetent in managing work and people. Whether it is true or not is irrelevant here. The boss has legitimate power; s/he writes  your performance appraisals, has the responsibility for your work, and can either praise or discredit you to his or her superiors. If you and your boss don’t like, or at least respect each other, and there’s nothing on the horizon which may change the situation, you should consider changing jobs. Incidentally, showing loyalty to the organization you work for also makes good political sense, although personal and organizational loyalty may not be compatible at times.

Peers

The respect and cooperation of your peers is another essential component of clean office politics and obtaining power ethically.  A few tactics should help you achieve this sometimes very elusive goal: help peers when they need it; be trustworthy and friendly; back them up; don’t complain about all the work you have to do; and avoid pretentions. Incidentally, most dirty office politics occurs among peers, so the above is especially important if you want to minimize the risk of fostering their envy, and the malice, slander and sabotage that it can foster. Envious people try to downgrade the person and/or the person’s accomplishments of which they are jealous.

Subordinates

Finally, relations with subordinates have a role in office politics. Giving recognition for the good work of a subordinate is an outlet for genuine appreciation. Treating subordinates with respect because they are people first and employees second is both humanistic and, coincidentally, part of being a good manager. Finally, a supervisor should not take advantage of subordinates with his/her power.

The aforementioned clean tactics are referred to as political or interactional skills and are most important in judiciously using office politics and power ethically. Other clean tactics fall under the aegis of “visiposure.” This is a combination of visibility (seeing those above you) and exposure (being seen by those above you).       The following are some examples of ethical tactics you and/or your staff could engage in:

  • Staff promoting themselves by talking with you about their progress and keeping you informed of what they’re doing.
  • Staff originating and initiating new ideas, putting them in writing and giving them to you.
  • Staff getting to know the people in the organization by attending office parties, using the cafeteria at work and remembering names.
  • Staff developing a professional attitude by avoiding excessive emotionalism, dressing for success, not engaging in negative gossip about people and not being a clock watcher.
  • Staff speaking up at meetings because that is where they are sometimes seen by people who do not usually see them.
  • Staff asking questions because this is necessary to obtain the information they need to continually improve their job performance, as well as showing their concern for the job.
  • Staff doing things outside the confines of the job. This allows them to meet people throughout the organization.
  • Staff talking about their progress so you know that they have definite goals and want to get ahead.
  • Staff developing a support system through involvement in professional organizations. This provides them with a support system separate from the job and can be important if they run into serious political difficulty on the job.
  • Staff developing a specialty so they can stand out from the crowd and get the recognition they need to advance their careers.

DIRTY OFFICE POLITICS

Up to this point we have dealt only with clean office politics. Let’s look at the dirty side so that you can more effectively protect yourself and your staff from it.

Paranoia vs. Naivete

To consider dirty office politics rationally, one must endeavor to be completely objective about oneself.  Some people are absolutely convinced that someone is out to get them. Because people, on occasion, are really out to discredit someone else for various reasons, one needs to make a clear distinction between objective reality and paranoid thinking.  Paranoid thinking exists when the amount of fear, anxiety and concern is not justified by real danger. To illustrate, it might be considered paranoid to be excessively fearful of crime in a predominantly crime-free community, whereas, to be concerned about being mugged while walking along some sections of the formerly infamous Fourteenth Street corridor in Washington, D.C., at one o’clock in the morning is prudent, not paranoid, and should result in appropriate action. To combat paranoid thinking, if you believe someone is out to get you, ask yourself “how do I know this to be true-;” “what am I observing that leads me to that opinion;” and “is this sufficient to warrant my belief that someone is out to get me?” It often takes considerable thought to sort out all the relevant information and form a rational opinion as to whether or not you’re someone’s target.

On the other hand, though not bad in terms of mental health, naivete in office politics can be hazardous to your career. If you think that everyone’s out to help you, give yourself a naive-zero on the accuracy of perceptions scale below. Likewise, if you see a coworker’s power and influence rising as yours is descending and you do not get at least a little suspicious, score yourself once again near the naive-zero on the scale.  Another indicator that you may be an actual or potential victim of dirty office politics is when former enemies in the office suddenly become friends; they may have found a common enemy — you.  The graph below illustrates the distinction between being paranoid and being naive. It is intentionally simplistic to illustrate the point.

Accuracy of Perceptions Scale

0____________100____________0

N                                   R                                  P

A                                   E                                  A

I                                    A                                  R

V                                   L                                   A

E                                   I                                   N

T                                   T                                  O

E                                   Y                                  I

 

 

Slander differs from gossip in that gossip is not as malicious, persistent and purposeful as is slander. One defense against slander and backstabbing is not to allow the slander to damage your self-image. Another defense is to launch a small counterattack. by innocently asking associates on occasion why the slanderer is so unhappy. By knowing that someone is slandering you, you can more effectively combat it. The following are options you have to-combat slander: confrontation; exposure; retaliation; rewarding the guilty party to make him or her feel guilty, suspicious or confused; and eliminating the cause. Often people readily accept stories on the grapevine without verification. Most of the time these stories contain partial truths, misunderstandings, distortions or outright misstatement of fact. Clever slanderers, however, base their dirty work on real incidents; they simply define or explain the incidents in an intentionally distorted manner so as to make someone look stupid or incompetent. They also get to the manager first with their distorted version of an incident so as to “poison the wells” for any other versions that may follow. Since supervisors and managers must rely, in large part, on information from subordinates, they therefore have to be especially wary of the derogatory comments they hear about employees. Since the “reputation” method is commonly used by managers to informally assess staff, even if a diligent manager follows up on rumors and makes first-hand observations of an employee, selective perception may bias the observation, since s/he is starting out with preconceived ideas that were furnished when one subordinate gave the “lowdown” on another. To counter the tendency towards selective perception, a manager must suspend judgement until s/he has sufficient data to form a defensible opinion. Personally, I prefer confronting an employee and thereby allowing him or her opportunity to explain.

A devious tactic, less onerous than backstabbing and stealing credit, is using flattery (not genuine praise) to manipulate people into doing what you want them to do. Constantly raising questions concerning a peer’s judgement and providing misinformation (with some truth thrown in for plausibility) is another tactic practiced by clever unethical office politicians.

SITUATIONAL OFFICE POLITICS

Of the three types of office politics, “situational” is the most difficult to use wisely. This is because most people have an image of themselves as being good, honest, righteous, ad infinitum, and they therefore rationalize many of their actions as being warranted by the situation or someone else’s actions. Many atrocities have been explained and “justified” by situations. The most recent examples are acts of terrorisrn which killed or injured innocent people.

In addition to the fait accompli mentioned earlier in this article, “avoiding losers” is a situational tactic. If you lunch and socialize with other managers, supervisors or staff with bad reputations, it is likely that your reputation may be tarnished. If the person with a bad reputation is a friend, avoiding that individual solely because of his or her reputation is a situational tactic that only you can judge as ethical or not. Another situational tactic is the “red herring” which is useful for managers because of the desirability of handling tricky personnel problems without needlessly humiliating people. For example, a manager may not want to tell, for some legitimate reason, an employee the full story of why s/he is -being fired, but use a “red herring,” or explanation that diverts attention from the blunt truth.

Discouraging Unethical Office Politics

At this point you may asking yourself if there’s anything that can be done to dissuade employees from engaging in dirty office politics. It should be clear to managers that staff  are going to get involved to some extent in office politics and will not make the ethical distinctions enumerated here. There are, however, a few tactics that managers can use to improve the chances for ethical behavior and a more decent office environment to thrive:

  • Keep your staff busy. Employees engaged in meaningful work and achieving worthwhile goals don’t have as much time and energy for office politics, clean or dirty.
  • Keep your staff well informed. Communication is an important part of the manager’s job and lack of it will foster conjecture, which is usually much worse than reality.
  • Give your employees, to the extent practicable, separate responsibilities, to minimize jealousy and cut-throat competition. Sometimes overlapping responsibilities are necessary, and even desirable, but if an organization can be structured without it, there will be more peace and harmony.
  • Be non-judgemental in dealing with your staff. If you want them to listen to you, and take your advice when you really need them to, they must trust you. That means not only respecting their confidences, but also empathetically listening to their complaints and problems.
  • Trust your staff. Expect them to do the right thing and help them to do it. This should help curtail devious behavior. The German philosopher Goethe said “Treat people as if they are what they ought to be, and you will help them to become what they are capable of being.”
  • When interviewing job applicants for a vacancy in your office, look for compatibility with your other staff. An applicant’s resume should tell you most of what you need to know about his or her knowledges, skills and abilities to do the job. The interview should help you tell how friendly, cooperative, and loyal the applicant is.
  • Build team spirit to encourage mutual support and understanding. Meetings can be a useful tool in accomplishing this, but the attitude of the manager is essential.
  • Give your employees an opportunity to read about office politics. Often, people engage in unethical behavior because they cannot distinguish between what’s ethical and what’s not. This article has been written to remove that ambiguity.

POWER

Power and office politics go hand-in-hand. The more power one has, the more effective his or her office politics can be. Power is defined here as the ability to marshal the resources to get the job done. There are basically six sources of power: legitimate, reward, coercive, referent, expertise and charismatic. Legitimate power is the official power you have as a manager in an organization; you have reward power if you can promote; you have coercive power if you can fire. Associate with or have a good rapport with one or more of the leaders with power in your organization and you have referent power. If you’re an expert at your job, you have expertise power. President Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King are good examples of people who had charismatic power.

A manager automatically has legitimate, reward and coercive power. If you’re a good manager, you probably have some charismatic power. How does one obtain more power? You can develop referent power by becoming friendly with other managers. Many people who have very little legitimate power have enormous referent power. Secretaries are good examples of this phenomenon. Become excellent at your job and you’ll gain expertise power. Develop your verbal and non-verbal skills, dress for success, and develop desirable leadership skills through education, training, reading and experience, and you’ll be on your way to developing charismatic power.

CONCLUSION

Office politics is a fact of organizational life. This article has discussed clean, dirty and situationally ethical forms of it. The most useful political tactic, however, is one called “honest and straightforward.” It is not only the easiest to use, it does not cause ‘the anxiety that many of the other tactics do. Work would be far more pleasant if all interactions were of this type, however an awareness of the other types is essential.

If you are like most managers, supervisors and employees, you not only deplore office politics, you are absolutely convinced that you do not engage in any form of it, be it conscious, unconscious, clean, dirty or situationally-ethical. I hope that this article has accomplished three purposes: made you more aware of office politics and therefore better able to handle it; demonstrated that some forms of office politics can be ethical; and adequately described dirty office politics so that there is more certainty as to what is ethical and what is not. An awareness of all types of office politics can be useful to you in maintaining a pleasant office environment and in succeeding in an ever-more competitive world.

Mike Russo

WHITE PRIVILEGE?

The concept of “white privilege” is an issue currently in vogue.  It forwards the theory that most whites have an advantage over most blacks and other people of color, simply because of the color of their skin.  It’s a big deal on college campuses with courses being given in it.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the “white privilege” theory reflects reality.  What can and does society and individuals do about it, if anything?  First, I believe, it’s necessary to acknowledge that it’s unfair.  Then, of course, it’s important to determine if there’s anything that can be done to correct the situation.  Here’s my analysis of the “white priviledge” issue:

Life is not fair: some people are tall (an advantage), some people are fat (a disadvantage).  some ugly (a disadvantage), some good-looking (an advantage), etc., etc.  Since skin color cannot be easily changed,  minorities need to overcome this inherent disadvantage and everyone needs to be aware of any bias they might have against others.   I know from personal experience that my physical handicaps kept me from achieving my potential and that my great parents and Ivy League education helped prepare me to somewhat overcome my half-paralyzed face, closed left eye and very poor equilibrium that my first brain tumor left me with.  In addition, I learned that I had to try exceptionally hard in order to overcome the stereotype that my particular physical handicaps portrayed of me.

On the other hand, though much less common, black priviledge is sometimes an advantage.  Huh?  President Obama was elected President after serving only two years as a U.S. senator.  This was previously unheard of!  Why?  White guilt!  In addition,  Affirmative Action helps anyone of color, even members of wealthy African-American families. Is that fair to the very poor of any race or nationality?  Therefore, shouldn’t Affirmative Action help the poor of any race?

I believe that government can only do so much to correct the unfairness of life and that in attempting to do so, it often makes things worse for the people it is trying to help, through unintended consequences.  Good intentions count for nothing.  Only results matter!

Just one example will prove my point: prior to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act  (ADA), about 53% of the disabled were employed.  Last I checked, about 31% were employed.  Why?  Due to the ADA, it’s nearly impossible to fire someone who is disabled, so employers try not to hire them to avoid not being able to fire them if they don’t work out.

The only solace to the unfairness of white privilege, as well as other unfair things that life throws in our paths, is that success is that much sweeter when we overcome and prevail.

WAR ON WOMEN

Beginning with Betty Friedan’s, The Feminine Mystique, I’ve been following the feminist movement and now follow women’s issues.

Most recently I read Katie Pavlich’s book, Assault and Flattery, and now have a better understanding of how the Left has kept women down behind the scenes, while claiming that it is the champion of women.

Beginning as far back as 1920, Democratic President Woodrow Wilson and the Democratic Party opposed women getting the right to vote.  Today the Democratic Party constantly fights against Second Amendment rights which women (and men) need to defend themselves. President Bill Clinton was an accused rapist (by Juanita Broderick) and the accuser was very credible.  Of course this was just one of many allegations made by women against him.  Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy was a big philanderer and was responsible for the death of Mary Jo Kopechne at Chappaquiddick.  Then there’s Democratic President Kennedy who had numerous affairs while President.

You might reply, “you’re referring to their personal lives, not their policies.”  Okay, let’s look at Democratic Party policies.  For women receiving welfare, there’s a provision requiring that a man can’t reside in the house of the (female) welfare recipient, otherwise the woman would be removed from the welfare rolls.  This provision has led to 77% of African-American households with children and about 30% of white households being led by only one parent.  This is very important because most of societal  pathologies stem from boys being raised without fathers.

You hear Hillary Clinton often discussing women’s issues so doesn’t this show how much she cares?  Frequently, you hear her say that women’make 77 cents for every dollar men make.  I first heard this statistic way back in the seventies so naturally I questioned whether it could still be that amount 50 years later.  I read years ago that it was the disruption in service that most women encounter because of child-rearing.  In addition, I heard that the gap has significantly narrowed and that black women actually made more than white women with the same education and experience.

Finally, the abortion issue.  Most Republicans are only against abortions during the third trimester of pregnancy since the fetus is actually an unborn baby by then.  They also are against partial-birth abortion because it is a gruesome procedure.  Check out how Planned Parenthood traffics in baby parts while receiving $500 million/year from the Federal government.

 

 

IRAN: good deal or bad deal?

The U.S. has negotiated a deal with Iran in an attempt to slow it down in developing a nuclear bomb.  The proposed deal, among other things,  reduces the number of Iran’s centrifuges to over 6,000, curtails its “breakout time” to less than one year, and basically expires in 10 years.  In addition, it returns to Iran about $140 billion in assets that are currently frozen by the United States.  Moreover, inspections of nuclear sites in Iran would require prior authorization from Iran and could be delayed as long as 24 days (which, of course, would enable Iran time to move any facilities it did not want United Nation inspectors to see (U.S. inspectors…which are the best in the world…would be banned from inspecting Iranian facilities).  Moreover, in 5 years the U.N. embargo on the purchase and sale of conventional  weapons is lifted and in 8 years the U.N. embargo on ballistic missiles is lifted.  Is this a good deal for the U.S., Israel, and the world?  In addition, under the deal, the United States is obligated to protect Iran’s nuclear facilities from sabatage.

Question: Many countries  have nuclear weapons so why is the world against Iran getting the bomb?  Is everyone simply discriminating against this Muslim country?  The US has the bomb, as does Israel, Russia, China, France, England, India, Pakistan, etc.

Short answer: Iran has threatened to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.”  It has also made implied threats to the United States.  Moreover, the Iranian Mullahs have said that they are awaiting the return of the Twelth Iman, whom they believe will return when the world is in conflagration (from nuclear bombs).  In other words, they are looking forward to blowing up Israel, destroying the United States’ power grid, and hurting the rest of the world, while it is looking forward to Iran itself being blown up so that the Twelth Iman will come.

Since Israel is such a small country, it would only take a few nuclear bombs for Iran to make good its promise to “wipe Israel off the face of the map.”  And just a few nuclear bombs over the US would create enough Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) to destroy all electrical devices in America and send us back to the Stone Age, resulting in a die-off of 9/10’s of the U.S. population within one year.

Time to get out the Bunker-Busting bombs?  The US now has nuclear-tipped Bunker-Busters which would be needed to destroy Iran’s deep-underground nuclear facilities.  The President, however, would never authorize their use and Israel does not have them.  Entire underground nuclear facilities would not have to be destroyed; just the entrances and exits to those facilities. and this could be done with conventional Bunker-Busters… Israel is militarily capable of doing that.  The President and Iraq would most likely not allow Israel to fly its jets, carrying the Bunker-Busters, over Iraqi air space in order to reach Iran (but it looks like other Arab countries would allow Israeli jets to fly over).

The world probably has less than a year before Iran gets the bomb.  Congressional-forced sanctions, but Obama-weakened sanctions aren’t strong enough to persuade Iran to stop developing nuclear weapons.  What might work is to stop all shipments of refined gasoline to Iran since Iran cannot refine most of the gasolene it uses domestically.

When the Iranian people stood up to its government in 2009 and were slaughtered in the streets, the US did nothing to support them.  Worse, the Iranian people even appealed to President Obama.  It would have been far easier to simply help the Iranians do its own regime-change back in 2009.  Now we’re talking about the necessity of a country possibly bombing Iran’s underground nuclear facilities to destroy its nuclear capability, a much more serious option.                                                    

The deal between the U.S. and Iran simply guarantees that, at the latest, Iran would have the bomb in 10 years (if Iran does,nt cheat…which it has done on every agreement).  When this happens Israel would probably be immediately destroyed.  Iran is developing Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) and will be able to reach the U.S. with them. ICBMs are not even part of the deal being negotiated with Iran.  Iran is by far the largest sponsor on terrorism around the world.  It’s naive to believe it would keep its word even for a deal in its favor.  I think it’s in the best interests of the U.S., Israel, and the world for the U.S. to walk away from this bad deal.  Many middle-eastern countries will buy/develop nuclear weapons if President Obama makes a deal with Iran; in other words an “arms race” in the most dangerous part of the world.

Without this deal, if Iran gets close to getting the bomb (as it already has), the U.S. should increase the sanctions against it and if this does not work, it and Israel should destroy their underground facilities (but not go to war!).  Israel has done this to nuclear reactors in Syria and in Iraq.

FERGUSON: Did Michael Brown Receive Justice?

On August 9, 2014, 18-year old Michael Brown, was shot to death by Ferguson, Missouri policeman Darren Wilson. Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, were walking in the middle of the street when officer Wilson, in a police car, asked the young men to walk on the sidewalk.  Officer Wilson drove on but the young men stayed in the middle of the street.  Wilson’s police radio told about the recent robbery at a nearby convenience store and mentioned that the perpetrator wore a red cap and white shirt, which is what Mr. Brown was wearing.

After hearing the description of Michael Brown, officer Wilson backed up his vehicle until it was in front of Mike and Dorian, blocking their path as well as traffic coming from both sides of the street.  Before Wilson was able to get out of his car, Mike punched Wilson in the face through an open window and tried to get officer Wilson’s gun.  Wilson was able to shoot twice, once hitting Brown in the thumb.  Mike and Dorian then ran away with Wilson running after him telling him to stop. Mike stopped running when he reached a light pole, then he turned, and charged Wilson.  Wilson started shooting but stopped shooting when Mike stopped running. Mike began charging Wilson again and was only stopped by the final bullet which hit him on the top of his head (which is because Brown bent forward as if to tackle Wilson).  Mike’s mom, Lesley McSpadden said that her son would have followed the policeman’s orders.  Mike was so high on Marijuana, however, that he couldn’t have been thinking straight.  According to the Toxicology Report, Mike’s blood level of Delta-9-THC was 12 nannograms/ML, which is twice the legal limit that the State of Washington (where pot is legal) allows for determining that someone is impaired.

These are the facts.  The first account of what happened was by Mike’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who was arrested in 2011 and lied to the police about his name, address, and everything else he told the police.  However, he was believed by everyone in the community until the very thorough Grand Jury’s report was released on November 24 which provided forensic and physical evidence proving Johnson was wrong .  If any one individual is responsible for all of the agitation and violence, it’s Dorian Johnson, whom I believe should be indicted for lying to the Grand Jury (as well as to the police, the community and to the world which consequently led to the violence where many people were hurt).

Rather than calming the situation in Ferguson, agitators whipped up the crowd into a frenzy and looted and burned down 25 businesses in the area the night that Robert McCulloch, prosecutor for St. Louis County, explained what the Grand Jury did and how they reached their conclusion that there was no “probable cause” for indicting Officer Darren Wilson.  Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had mobilized the National Guard and explained that their job was to protect the businesses, but he did not deploy the guard to do their job and many businesses were consequently burned downed after Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, shouted to the crowd, “burn this mother f—er down,” and “burn this bitch down.”

Mainstream Media, instead of keeping everyone informed and critically analyzing the event, has been making the situation worse with its usual incompetent and sloppy reporting and analysis.  I’ll just give one piece of proof for my allegation of their incompetence: look at the recent photo of Michael Brown at the top of this page.  Have you seen anything other than Brown’s 13-years-old sweet child photos from mainstream Media (Michael Brown was 18)?  The Trayvon Martin case all over again, where the media showed only his photos when he was 12-years-old rather than the 18-year-old that he was.  However, beating out all other media outlets for malfeasance and irresponsibility once again is the New York Times which listed Darren Wilson address in one of its November 24 articles.

Some politicians used Ferguson for nefarious purposes.  Attorney General Eric Holder, racist, did so.  Al Sharpton, another racist, as well.  President Obama, on the other hand, appeared to be helpful, trying to defuse the situation.  Who am I to say someone is racist or not?  I worked for many years getting fair play for minorities and women and received awards for this work.

After looking at the facts that I presented here as accurately as I can, do you believe Mike Brown received justice?

Although most murders of African-Americans are committed by other African-Americans, situations like Ferguson will continue to happen unless everyone does three things: 1) do not assault police officers, 2) do what police officers ask you to do…you can always get a remedy later if you were treated unfairly, 3) if you use illicit drugs, do so at home where it is relatively safe and you do not have to be level-headed and reason your way out of tricky situations that can get you hurt or killed.

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