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.

All Services

“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.

LEARN PUBLIC SPEAKING: JOIN TOASTMASTERS INTERNATIONAL!

The very best way to learn or drastically improve your ability to speak in public is to join and participate in Toastmasters, International.  There are thousands of Toastmasters clubs in the U.S. and Toastmasters clubs in many countries around the world.  I was a member of Toastmasters for 23 years and gave about 300 prepared speeches and 500 extemporaneous speeches during my time there.  I know Toastmasters well.  I also have taken a variety of public speaking courses over my 40-year+ government career and therefore can compare participating in Toastmasters with other ways of becoming proficient at public speaking.

Toastmasters is by far the best way to learn how to speak in public.  However, it does much more than that.  Toastmasters also helps develop listening skills by having its members evaluate speeches.  In addition, it also helps develop thinking skills and leadership skills.

Members progress at their own speed, earning a “Competent Toastmaster” award after giving 10 speeches, and then silver, bronze and gold Toastmasters advanced designations, followed by the Distinguished Toastmaster award.  There are manuals that guide Toastmasters into developing speeches.  There are manuals on storytelling, on persuading, on giving presentations, etc.  There are 15 groups of manuals that instruct members on how to prepare and deliver 75 different types of speeches.  Individual Toastmasters select all of their own speeches.  The very first speech is  an “Icebreaker,” where the new Toastmaster talks about him/herself.

Besides the very valuable career skills you learn at Toastmasters, there is a very gratifying comradery and  that all Toastmasters clubs have.  Toastmasters is a wholesome activity which will help your career.  Clubs meet at hours that are convenient for working people and many companies and the government usually allow their employees to use “company time,” if needed, to attend meetings (because it’s training).

 

BONNIE THE STREET CAT

 I believe that you have to have pets of your own to fully understand how we “animal people”, feel about them.  I also believe that even referring to “companion animals” as “pets” is somewhat demeaning. Two of the first pets in my adult life were my cats, Bonnie and her kitten, Jenny.  They were special and I’d like to tell you a few of the things that I saw Bonnie do that demonstrates how special she was. One incident was an act of compassion and the other a demonstration of love.  You be the judge as to whether or not I’m attributing human qualities to my cat, Bonnie, or that she really was as special as I contend.

I first met Bonnie when she was a one-year-old homeless street cat.  I put out food and water every day and evening in my backyard for the homeless cats in the neighborhood.  Bonnie was a regular visitor, except that, unlike homeless feral cats that had never been socialized with people, she was very friendly. Suddenly one day she simply stopped coming around.  Months later, Bonnie, who had no name at the time, came onto my porch for some food and water and I decided to let her into my home because it was freezing cold outside.

She walked just a short distance into my parlor, looked around and returned outside to the bitter cold. However, within 5 minutes Bonnie returned to my porch accompanied by a black and white bloated, very sick cat. Both cats ate some of the dry cat food and drank some of the water that I had on my porch, and then both came to my front door and sat on the door mat.

Anyway, when I saw Bonnie with her sick friend, I immediately opened the door and Bonnie’s friend entered my home but Bonnie walked away. I quickly put out some canned cat food as well as a cat bed, litter box and a bowl of water. The sick cat ate and drank like it was starved and terribly thirsty. Meanwhile, I didn’t see Bonnie around again for a few months.

However, when I did see Bonnie again she seemed very fat. She came around every day and got fatter and fatter. It finally dawned on me that Bonnie, whom I thought was a male, was pregnant. From that moment on I couldn’t sleep peacefully at night. All I could think about was Bonnie’s kittens being born in the freezing cold and dying within 5 minutes of birth from the cold.

So one evening, when Bonnie came by for some food and water, I tried to entice her into my home. When I failed to get Bonnie to come in, I grabbed the cat carrier and a can of cat food and ran out and followed her across the street to a parking lot. She was so happy to see me pay attention to her… her tail wagged from side to side just like a dog’s.  I put an opened can of cat food into the carrier and thereby was able to lure her into it and took her to my home and let her loose inside.  The next day the “Cat Care Society” took in Bonnie and found her a foster home where she gave birth to six kittens.

Eight weeks later the Cat Care Society brought Bonnie and her kittens back to the shelter from the foster home and gave me the “pick of the litter” of the kittens. I picked an angel-faced little gray and white ball of fur who my wife named Jenny. However, the Cat Care Society was very concerned about Bonnie. When they separated her from her kittens, she grieved and cried and would not eat but I couldn’t take her home yet because she had to be neutered and then needed a few days to recuperate. “Cat care” thought Bonnie might die. Meanwhile, I brought home Jenny immediately.

When I finally brought home the emaciated and grief-stricken Bonnie, she stealthily approached Jenny, sniffed her, and then began licking her. She was the happiest cat you’ve ever seen!  Meanwhile, for weeks after being reunited with Jenny, whom she discovered on the floor by my sofa, it broke my heart to see Bonnie call and meow all around the sofa, thinking that her other five kittens were there also.

Bonnie and Jenny are now both indoor cats and although Jenny is all grown up, Bonnie still preens her and plays cat games with her like “Stalk,” “Ambush,” “Wrestle,” “Chase,” and “Cat-in-the-Box.” Bonnie is just one of millions of homeless cats on the streets who suffer from starvation, dehydration, being run over, freezing, being attacked by dogs and other cats, and being mangled by auto fans and belts when they snuggle up to a warm auto engine in the bitter cold. Fortunately I was able to save Bonnie and by so doing also saved her kittens, including Jenny.  Bonnie and Jenny’s love for each other and for me, and the compassion that Bonnie showed for a sick cat friend by bringing her to my home for food and help was very touching and made me love her even more.

Do you see why we Animal People” feel the way we do about our “Companion Animals”?

 

TRAP, NEUTER, RETURN” (TNR) PROGRAM FOR FERAL/STRAY CATS (audio interview)

I decided to conduct this conference call on TNR (25-minute audio of interview at the bottom of  written introduction) because it’s the answer to the feral and stray cat population explosion problem.  Ferals and strays starve, thirst,  freeze, are killed by dogs and other cats as well as by cars, and there are very few charitable organizations dealing with the problem.  Moreover, as a bonafide “catman,” who has trapped, neutered, and returned at least 100 cats, this issue is very important to me because I’ve come to know cats as the affectionate (if you feed and water them, scratch their heads, give them a name and talk to them ) creatures that they are.

If you love cats, don’t miss this discussion led by Mike Russo with Alex Mehn and Mark Rheinhardt on the very effective “Trap, Neuter, Return” (TNR) program for feral (afraid of people) cats.  TNR has been questioned recently concerning its effectiveness; however, we in the cat community have first-hand experience and knowledge that it works very well.  I took care of a 30-cat colony for about 10 years during which no kittens were born to any of my cats.

Alex Mehn, at the time of the interview, worked for the “Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance” and its low-cost neutering clinic,”The Feline Fix,” as its TNR coordinator.  Mark Rheinhardt is an attorney on the board of the “Devine Feline” which operates a large van/mobile unit that travels around metropolitan Denver where its volunteers humanely trap feral and stray/homeless cats and have them neutered in the van by a volunteer veterinarian, and later returned to where they were trapped.

The discussion examines all facets of how a TNR program for caring for feral and stray-homeless cats could be implemented through local legislation (and uses Denver as an example of a city that needs TNR legislation and why).

In the TNR discussion, many issues are addressed, such as:

  1. How TNR helps prevent cat “hoarding”
  2. Feline aids and leukemia,
  3. Aggressiveness, zoonotic diseases,
  4. Curtails hunting and killing birds,
  5. The risks to catpeople without TNR, and much more.

To listen to this conference call, please click the red link  below.

Trap, Neuter, Return\” (TNR) program – Audio

 

APPLYING THE FIVE FUNCTIONS OF MANAGEMENT

Planning, organizing, directing, coordinating, and controlling: do each of these well and with a sincere belief in the worthiness of what you’re trying to accomplish as well as a sensitivity to the employees who work for you and the people you’re serving and you’ll find it hard to fail. To use each of the five functions, we need to understand them.  Here’s my brief explanation of each:

1. PLANNING

It’s widely believed that the more time one spends planning, the less time is needed for implementation of the plan.  I go even further than that: better and more thorough planning should eliminate wasted time on implementing poor plans that end up not working. In planning, it’s a geat idea to solicit critiques and feedback from others prior to adopting the Plan, especially from those that differ with you.

2. ORGANIZING

After you prepare your Plan you need to organize your resources and determine how you intend to implement your
Plan.  Perhaps appointing a Czar to be responsible for implementing the Plan is appropriate. What do you do first, second, third?  The Plan may need to be divided into parts that can be given to managers to take control of to implement.

3 DIRECTING

Next comes the beginning of the implementation of your Plan by directing others to carry  out various portions of the plan, starting with the selection of a Czar to direct the Plan’s implementation.

4. COORDINATING

The more complex the Plan, the more important it is to coordinate with those charged with implementing its various components.  This is something that the Plan’s Czar does.

5. CONTROLLING

This fifth and final function compares the Plan with the results that were actually achieved and then make any changes necessary to ensure that the final outcome is what is desired, even if is was not what was exactly planned for.

 

CONCLUSION

Having  identified and briefly explained the five functions of management, I think it would be useful to go through an example that would illustrate how they actually work.  I thought something controversial would be fun, so let’s use comprehensive healthcare to build a nationwide system that provides more benefits than costs and is affordable and welcomed by all.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare never had popular support.  It narrowly became legislation and only was able to do so because of underhanded actions.  Because of this, there was no honest debate on how to make it work well.  Although politicians on both sides of the aisle wanted to help shape the new health insurance law, this was not done because Republican legislators were not included.  So from its very inception. the ACA Plan was flawed.  Over 2700 pages in length, the ACA was poorly organized and not well-thought-out for disincentives in it to employers and to the economy.

The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services was in charge of the Plan’s implementation (“directing”)  and did a very poor job, starting with the selection of unqualified contractors to build the Federal website for people to sign up for healthcare that lived in states that did not participate in the administration of the ACA. The Secretary should have appointed a ACA Czar to be responsible for making it work well and smoothly.  The Secretary was also responsible for any “coordinating” that was necessary to make the ACA work.

Finally, the fifth function of management and acid test of all Plans is “controlling” or checking to insure that the outcome or results are what was intended, and then to make modifications that are necesary to make that happen.  The ACA is much more expensive than previously-held insurance and is only affordable to those receiving subsidies.  The co-pays and deductibles are ridiculously high to the extent that seeing a doctor is unaffordable to many.  The ACA is so bureaucratic and unwieldy that it is encourages fraud on the part of insurers, its administrators, and healthcare recipients.  It is so flawed that it is probably beyond repair, which makes me personally very sad because I believe in universal healthcare.  The President and both houses of Congress need to work together to replace the ACA with something much better.

Consciously use the 5 functions of management whenever you manage anything complex that you want to see done well.

 

 

USING A “TO DO” LIST FOR GETTING MORE DONE

For over 30 years I used time management strategy and tactics.  It began with my reading nine books on time management in the eighties, starting with Alan Lakein’s, How to get Control of your Time and your Life.  I subsequently taught an adult education course in time management, and have used it for the past 35 years, right up to the present moment.

Rather that quote what author said what, way-back-when, and give their time management tips, I’ll  simply tell what I found works well.

The basic time management tool that most experts agree upon is the use of a daily “To Do” list.  My use of the to-do list evolved over the years but I still make out and use a  prioritized list every day and I carry it and a pen with me wherever I go as well as keep it and a pen on my night table when I go to bed.   When I was working for a paycheck, I attribute my lists for making me somewhat more productive.   Now that I’m retired, I estimate that I get at least three times more done than I otherwise would have without my lists, basically because retirement time, unlike a job time, is mostly unstructured and a daily list gives structure.

The items on your to do list should be prioritized, not simply listed.  The importance of this is actually the most critical aspect of “to do” lists.  Prioritizing the items  on your to-do list helps you answer “Lakein’s Question” which asks, “what is the best use of your time right now?”  Of course, for meetings, appointments  and other timed events, I simply asterisk it on my list rather that give it a numerical priority.  Near the end of each day I prepare my list for that evening and the next day, carrying over unfinished items from the previous day.  The mere act of preparing your list each day helps you focus on what you need to do and how important or even urgent it is.

In the 1930’s, Bethlehem Steel entrepreneur Charles M. Schwab (see his photo in upper right-hand corner), paid management consultant Ivy Lee $25,000 for giving him the very simple idea of a daily “to do” list.  That $25,000 would be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars today.  I personally have found to do lists to be priceless over the past 35 years that I used them.

KIMMIE THE KAT

Many years ago, when I was young and foolish, I was under the mistaken impression that all a man really needed for true happiness was a good woman. But as I’ve gotten older and a little wiser, I’ve come to see the light: a real man needs a good cat! Now I can imagine that some of you reading this are skeptical so I decided to scientifically compare a good woman, my second wife, with a good cat, Kimmie.  My  statistician says that 4 examples will suffice. I’ll keep score.

Before Kimmie the cat came into our lives, my wife, Sharon, and I really wanted a dog but we lived on the fourth floor of a condo in downtown Washington, DC, so a dog was out of the question. Then we got 5-month old Kimmie from the cat lady of Reston, Virginia. When I brought Kimmie home she was dirty and full of fleas, so Sharon and I decided to give her a bath. Fully wet, Kim looked like a drowned rat but a cute drowned rat. Giving Kimmie a bath was a real growth experience for us. I’m sure you cat owners out there know what I’m talking about.

That was Kimmie’s last bath!!!… What did I conclude from this?  Comparing the woman I know best, my wife Sharon, to the cat I know best, Kimmie, I decided that although a woman can take an hour to bathe, a cat can’t bathe itself and also is a real terror to bathe, so in this respect a woman is superior to a cat. Therefore let’s give women one point.

After moving from Washington to the mountains of Colorado I was hoping that some field mice would visit our home so Kimmie could develop her stalking skills.  I even suggested to Sharon that I buy some white mice and turn them loose in the house, but for some unknown reason Sharon did not like my idea. However, the day finally arrived when an unfortunate little field mouse got into our home seeking food and shelter.  Kimmie instinctively chased the mouse and even caught it, but she put it down on the floor and let it run away. She played “cat and mouse” with the mouse for two weeks, catching it, letting it go, catching it again, letting it go again. Finally one night at about 2 am, my wife heard some crunching sounds and that mouse was never seen again!

Now Kimmie is an old pro at catching mice. A mouse only lasts one night and in the morning the mouse’s hind quarters are neatly laid out for Sharon and I to admire. While this might gross out most people, I feel like a proud parent. What does this tell me?  In comparing a typical woman to a typical cat, not only can’t Sharon catch mice, she’s afraid of them…so give one point to Kimmie. The score is now women one, cats one.

When I take kimmie to the vet each year for her annual medical checkup, I get a good laugh.  Kimmie is probably the most timid cat that ever was, but the vet is frightened half to death of her. I hate to ridicule, but if you saw how scared he was of this tiny, eight-pound ball of fur, you’d chuckle too.  Kimmie’s last trip to the vet included her being tranquilized to have her teeth cleaned. That meant she had to stay at the vet’s overnight so she wouldn’t hurt herself while under the influence. When I went the following morning to get Kim to take her home, the vet asked me to go and get her from the back room.  I guess he was tired of my telling him how gentle and timid she was. I went to Kim’s cage, opened its door and was confronted with a hissing, snarling little tigress. I said, “Kim, it’s me…cut the bull; sweet pea, it’s me.” nothing worked. Maybe the vet is not such a scared-y-cat after all. What did I learn from this? …, comparing Sharon going to the doctor to Kimmie going to the vet, Sharon, unlike Kimmie, usually tolerates going to the doctor so she is superior to Kimmie in this regard. the score is therefore women 2, cats 1.

Sharon sleeps late in the morning.  Therefore, when I’m not home, Kimmie goes hungry for awhile early in the morning unless she can get Sharon up to get her breakfast. Being a smart cat, Kim developed a routine where she wiggles her whiskers under Sharon’s nose to tickle her to wake her up. She then follows this by licking Sharon’s hand with her sandpaper cat tongue and then standing on Sharon and meowing loudly into her face. Finally, if Kimmie’s especially hungry and it’s getting late, she climbs to the top of the nearby armoire and leaps from there onto the bed where Sharon is sleeping. If you knew my wife, you’d know that getting her out of bed in the morning is very difficult and that these feline tactics usually don’t work, but Kimmie keeps coming up with new ideas so she can get her morning fix of Purina.

So what does this tell us… comparing Sharon to Kimmie, Kimmie gets up very quickly in the morning, though she does take a lot of “cat naps”. This point therefore goes to cats: the score is women 2, cats 2, a tie score.

So to answer my initial question: “does a man need a good woman or a good cat to be happy?” As a true “cat man,” who never met a cat he didn’t like, I’m glad I have a statistically valid reason for not having to choose between Sharon and Kimmie. On the other hand, Sharon is a true “cat woman,” therefore I’m glad she doesn’t have to really choose between me and Kimmie.

This man needs a good woman and a good cat to be happy!

 

SON OF HAMAS

I just finished reading a fascinating book by a fascinating and courageous person: Mosab Hassan Yousef.  Mr. Yousef gave up so much that he held dear to follow the beliefs of his new religion, Christianity.  His devotion to Christ led him to helping people, all people: Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc.  His father, Sheikh Hassan Yousef, was one of seven Palestinians that created Hamas in 1986, but Mr. Yousef was a principled and honorable man, unlike many of the other Hamas leaders and led me to conclude that he is mostly responsible for his son also being a principled and honorable young man.

Christianity opened young Mosab’s mind to compassion and forgiveness and enabled him to take a second look at the Israelis, whom he was taught to hate by the culture he was raised in.  At some point he thought that he could save many lives on all sides of the Palistinian-Israeli conflict by working with Israel’s Intelligence service, the Shin Bet.  In fact, he did save many innocent lives, including his father’s.

In the epilogue, postscript and afterwards, Mosab ends the book by telling about his encounters in America, which I found to be very interesting because by the end of the book I cared about what happened to him.

The book forced me to rethink Hamas and its true intentions: political power or a genuine concern for Palistinians?  It also gave me a better appreciation on how being raised in a culture where hatred is celebrated, and think about how fortunate I am for being born and raised in America.  If you are interested in the Middle East, care about the people who live there, and want to understand what is happening there, this book should help.

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.

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.

USE THE IRS TO HELP YOU SAVE MONEY: REFUNDS

If you have difficulty saving money, you can use the IRS to help you save.  How?  That’s what this post explains.

I have a problem saving money…money burns a hole in my pocket.  But this weakness of mine has not hurt me because I use a simple technique to save money despite my weakness.  Very simply, I have the IRS withhold much more money than I estimate I’ll owe in taxes.

Most financial planners advise against my method for saving.  Their opinion is that you don’t want to have the government hold onto your money when you could be earning interest on that money.  However, in the days of 1 % interest rates, plus my being most likely to waste and not save any extra money from my paycheck/pension, that argument does not make sense.

The strongest argument for having the government help you save is the following:  the Federal government takes money from paychecks before you see it.  Many people have great difficulty saving and would therefore save nothing without the government withholding money from pay.  In other words, 5% interest on 0 savings is 0. ..and that’s what I and many others would have saved without government withholding, 0.

With the tax refund I receive each year from the IRS I pay off credit card debt or do something else requiring a chunk of money.  But, of course, you can use your refund for anything you like:  a vacation, home improvements, auto repair, etc.

I’ve used the IRS to help me save money for years, and  I found that it works very well. The only qualifier, however, is that with today’s rampant ID fraud, there is a slight possibly that someone else may receive your tax refund. Try doing it this year and see the results for yourself.

 

STOP LOSING YOUR HAIR

I’m 71 years old and still have all of my hair.  How did that happen?  The following is a brief explanation how I did it and why you probably can do it too.

When I was about sixty years old, my hair began getting thinner, so I looked around for something to stop it from happening.  I usually look at natural nutritional solutions first before looking at other potential remedies.  Because hair is comprised mostly of protein, I thought it prudent to look first at my protein intake and compare it to my daily hair loss that I easily saw in the tub drain every morning after my shower.

Around the time of the Thanksgiving-Christmas-Hanukkah holidays, I noticed that my hair loss each morning diminished substantionaly.  I realized that what I did nutitrionaly differently around the holidays was to consume a lot more protein in the form of turkey and ham.  Consequently, I carefully conducted a more structured experiment to compare and correlate my protein intake with my hair loss. First, I calculated the amount of protein I needed to eat every day.  I used the weight-lifters method by figuring my body weight in kilograms instead of pounds.  I did this by dividing my weight in pounds by 2.2 which is the number of pounds in one kilogram.  So I divided 160 pounds by 2.2 and arrived at the number 72.7, which was the number of grams of protein I needed to temporarily consume each day to reach optimum levels.  Such a high-protein diet, however, is hard on the kidneys, so I subsequently changed over to a lower-protein diet. I decided to change to the usual way to calculate the “Recommended Daily Allowance” of protein, which is to compute weight in kilograms and then multiply this number by .8 if sedentary or 1.4 if an athlete training hard every day.  The average RDA for adult men is 56 grams and for women 46 grams.

Within a few days, my daily hair loss started to decrease.  Within two weeks there was hardly any hair loss.  Within four weeks my hair loss completely ceased.

To this day I have continued a high-protein diet and still do not have any hair loss.  I also watch the quality of the protein I eat.  The highest quality protein contains all 8 “essential amino acids” in the proper proportions.  The egg is the highest quality naturally-occurring high-protein food.  Rice contains one of the lowest-quality proteins, but if you combine rice with beans, you have a complete protein.  Pasta, bread, and all wheat products are low-quality so it’s important to add some meat, cheese, egg, tofu, milk, beans, etc. to them for a compete protein.

Calculate you daily protein requirement and  try high-protein meals and snacks for a few weeks and see if your hair loss stops.

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.

WHEAT BELLY, GRAIN BRAIN

I just read two books on  wheat’s very bad effects on everyone’s health: Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, M.D. and Wheat Belly by William Davis, M.D.

Many are familiar with the medical condition called Celiac Sprue, which is a condition of the gastrointestinal tract that is extremely sensitive to wheat gluten to the extent that it could eventually even kill someone with that condition.  However, both Wheat Belly and Grain Brain are much broader in their scope than Celiac Sprue and cite research and studies showing how modern-day high-yield dwarf wheat, which was developed and began being used in the 1970’s, is very bad for everyone.

Grain Brain focuses on the adverse effects of wheat on the brain.  I was especially interested in the huge reduction in the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s if one stops eating all wheat products (e.g., bread, pasta, pizza, cake, cookies, pies, wheat breakfast cereals, etc.).  In addition to Alzheimer’s, there’s a number of other neurological disorders that wheat increases the likelihood of.

Wheat Belly, on the other hand, focuses on the accumulation of visceral fat around mid-sections, that increase the incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, accelerated aging, etc.  It also looks at how high-carbohydrate foods, in addition to simply wheat, are really bad for your health.

Some mitigating actions come to my mind, such as only eating gluten-free wheat products.  However, gluten-free adds new problems, such as eating simple high-carbohydrate food without any protein, much fiber and greatly reduced vitamins and minerals.  Also, since high-yield dwarf wheat was developed and became very widespread in the 70’s and is especially bad for health, eating earlier forms of wheat are less harmful for your health.

  

ISRAEL AND PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (audio interview)

I decided to interview Daniel Mariaschin on my radio program (25-minute audio of interview at the bottom of this introduction…click on red “play” button) because Israel and the Middle East are in a conflict with no end in sight and Mr. Mariaschin has the position, skills and experiences that enable him to have good insight and perception into the issues surrounding the conflict. 

While I interviewed Mr. Mariaschin a few years ago, almost everything we discussed is relevant to the situation today and therefore is still of value.   At the time of my interview of Mr. Mariaschin, he had been working for B’nai B’rith for 24 years but had worked in the Jewish community in Jewish organizations for an additional 15 years, for a total of 39 years.  He holds an undergraduate degree in history from Columbia University and a graduate degree in Jewish studies from Brandeis University.  Mr. Mariaschin was born in the New York-New Jersey area and grew up in New Hampshire.  At the time of my interview, Mr. Mariaschin was the Executive Vice President and was the Director of B’nai B’rith’s Center for Human Rights and Public Policy.

The interview focuses on Israel and peace in the Middle East.  Because of his experience in foreign affairs, national defense, Israel, and articles he’s written for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the Chicago Tribune, the  Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and others, he has demonstrated that he knows what he’s talking about.

In the interview, Mr. Mariaschin discusses many aspects of:

  1. Israel and the Middle East
  2. Going into the  prospects for peace
  3. The growing Iranian threat including its nuclear reactor in Bushere
  4. The “ground zero” mosque, life in Israel
  5. The book on Israel, Start-up Nation,
  6. The origins and mission of B’nai B’rith, and more.

To listen to Mr. Daniel Mariaschin’s interview, please click on the red Link  below.

MR. Daniel Mariaschin-Israel Audio

Interview by Mike Russo

JOBS FOR AMERICA (audio interview)

I decided to interview Steve De Maura (25-minute audio interview…click on the red words at the bottom of this introduction) because the U.S. economic problems mostly stem from the high unemployment rate which mean less taxes for governments at all levels and high annual deficits for the Federal government (most States may not legally have budget deficits).  In addition, US energy policy and using Keynesian economics (e.g., the “Stimulous” package) have made job creation and U.S. economic problems much worse. The interview focuses on the high unemployment rate: why it is so high and what should be done to bring it back down to very low levels.

Mr. De Maura began the non-profit organization “Americans for Job Security” or “AJS” (website www.savejobs.org) in 1997 to promote pro-market, pro-jobs public policy.  He was born in New Hampshire and raised in a small town in that State.  He received his higher education at American University in Washington, DC, after which he worked as a consultant for years before becoming director of “Americans for Job Security”.   AJS has a few thousand members who favor predictable regulations and lower taxes so as to foster job growth.  It funds its activities from member dues.

In the interview, Mr. De Maura discusses many aspects of the high unemployment rate in the U.S….

  1. The real unemployment rate (the U-6 Federal government report plus…)
  2. Why the “Stimulus” created only a small number of jobs
  3. Keynesian vs. Milton Friedman’s “Supply-Side” economics
  4. Unemployment in the Great Depression,
  5. Japanese attempts to stimulate their economy,
  6. Political interference with job and economic growth,
  7. The huge U.S. natural gas reserves, U.S. has more oil than the Middle East, and much more.

To listen to Steve De Maura’s interview, please click the below Red Link

Steve. de Maura-Job for Americans – Audio

Interview by Mike Russo 

TRAYVON v. GEORGE v. MEDIA v. THE RACE-OBSESSED

The Prosecution’s case against George Zimmerman  showed that Zimmerman acted in self-defense to prevent his own life from being taken by Trayvon Martin,  who attacked and tried to beat George to death.  The police had it right from the very beginning…letting Zimmerman go after checking his wounds and other forensics against his account of what happened…there simply was no “probable cause” to think otherwise.   This was so obvious that Zimmerman’s Defense team decided not to even put him on the stand to testify.  The racist charge was debunked when the FBI’s report stated that there was no racial-bias intent.

I feel very sorry for Trayvon’s mother and family but have nothing but contempt for the race-baiting incompetent media. Even Fox News showed 17-year old Trayvon’s before and after photos when he was 12 and 14 rather than portray him accurately as a 6-foot plus 17-year-old young man.  Of course, NBC edited Zimmerman’s dialog with the police dispatcher to make it appear that this Black Hispanic (1/2 Hispanic and 1/8 Black) is racist, but then again we  already knew that NBC is an unreliable source for accurate news.

The Media and the Prosecution tried to have George Zimmerman put in prison for 25 years for defending himself against being murdered.  I will never, ever trust the Media again, ever!!!  It was the real loser in the trial.

Now it’s Al Sharpton’s turn to have a crack at Zimmerman, with the support of many Black-Americans, liberals, the President, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the Justice Department, this time alleging that Zimmerman’s motivation was racism even though the FBI interviewed almost 40 people a year ago  and concluded that racism was not an issue.  Already some black youths have targeted Hispanics and assaulted them.  Where and when will it end?  Stay tuned. Sharpton already has blood on his hands from inciting people to riot in the Tawana Brawley incident in 1987…we’ll see how many will be injured and killed this time over the “not guilty” verdict for George Zimmerman.

 

ISRAEL, OBAMA & IRAN

Talk around town is that Israel is going to bomb Iran’s underground nuclear facilities this summer.  Henry Kissinger has said that if Iran gets the bomb it will use it.  The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)  has reported that Iran is getting very close to getting the bomb.   Given all of these facts, as well as the fact that Israel’s very survival is at stake, it seems likely that Israel will strike.

Of course, if the Unites States, with its formidable military arsenal, helps Israel, there would be a greater likelihood that significant damage would be done to Iran’s nuclear facilities to set it back perhaps 3 years.

As bad as this scenario is, if sanctions don’t deter Iran, whose leader (Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) promised to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, it’s obviously a better option than allowing the lunatic fringe (Iran’s leaders) to get the bomb.  So the big question is,  will President Obama allow the U.S. to assist Israel or will Israel have to go it alone.  He has said that he “has Israel’s back,” but was he sincere is saying this?

This is important not only because of the increased likelihood of success if the U.S. helps Israel, but also because Israel’s actions would initiate a much greater worldwide political firestorm if it bombs Iran’s nuclear facilities without U.S. participation.  The United Nations would go bonkers.   Arab countries would threaten retaliation, even though most of them would be secretly relieved that the Region’s Crazy (Iran) was de-fanged.

U.S. involvement depends on the President.  Obama must be mindful of his diminished popularity among America’s Jewish population because he has become much nicer to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  However, the President’s childhood includes time being raised as a Muslim.  Like all Muslims, he must have been taught to hate Israel and all Jewish people.  So given his politics versus his early training, what would he do?  We’ll soon find out.  Let’s hope he makes the right decision and that the “Great Satan” (radical Islam’s name for the U.S.) helps the  “Little Satan” (radical Islam’s name for Israel) in destroying Iran’s underground nuclear facilities so that not only Israel, but the entire world, would be much safer.

The upcoming presidential election will play a major role in what the President does.  He’s already done a minor betrayal of Israel by naming the country that Israel would use as a staging area for an attack on Iran. ..this to discourage Israel from bombing Iran before the election.  The far-left would strongly disapprove of the U.S. helping Israel but would it vote for Mitt Romney or simply not vote?  Personally, I think that this might be Obama’s only chance for re-election…assisting or even taking the lead, using its nuclear-tipped bunker-buster bombs in destroying all entrances and exits to Iran’s underground nuclear facilities. Some of the underground facilities are as deep as a thousand feet, which is even beyond the range of the bunker-busters, but destroying  their access would do the job.  National defense hawks would love it and this, combined with Obama’s liberal use of drones, would convince some of them that Obama should be re-elected.  Or it could be a political wash, both losing and gaining similar amounts of votes (the political calculation I believe is most  important to the President this year).

I believe the President should just do the right thing for Israel, the United States and the world: destroy Iran’s  underground nuclear facilities.  Once Iran gets the bomb, it will be too late and Israel might be annihilated.

CFL BULBS: MERCURY POISONING

The EPA-sponsored government ban on incandescent light bulbs, scheduled to begin on January 1, 2012, was put on hold on December 16, 2011, via de-funding of its enforcement that was contained in the legislation that funds the government for 2012.

Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL)  and light-emitting diodes (LED) will replace incandescent bulbs.  CLF’s use only about 25% of the energy that incandescent bulbs use and LED’s last 10 times CLF’s. That’s why EPA wants them to replace incandescent bulbs…to save energy.  However, CLF’s have a problem: they contain the potent neurotoxin, mercury.  No amount of mercury is safe.

There are provisions for burned-out CLF bulbs to be safely discarded, but I estimate that at least 75% will end up in the trash, where they will shatter and the mercury leaked out.   The mercury will end up polluting our air, water and soil and neurological disorders will consequently increase.  With Alzheimer’s now affecting about 1/2 of people over 84 years of age, that age threshold for Alzheimer’s will get younger as incandescent bulbs are replaced with Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs.

I think we need to ask: what is worse, mercury poisoning or the carbon emissions from carbon-based fuel burned to power incandescent lights.  So what should Congress do?  There’s no way that mercury-containing CFLs should be allowed into the environment.  Be sure to thank Congress and the President for this predicament.  It would be very enlightening to analyze mercury contamination in those countries that have already enacted anti-incandescent light bulb laws, like Brazil, Venezuela, Australia, Switzerland, and the European Union.

 

 

YOUNG WOMEN: AVOID ARUBA…PLEASE!

Robyn Garner is gone.  Natalee Holloway is gone.  Many others, whom you’ll rarely hear about from the media,  are gone as well.   Aruba is known as a center for human trafficking and date-rape drugs.  Incompetence of  law enforcement, the Aruban legal system, and Aruba’s location are mostly to blame.  But I find it inconceivable that any young woman would even travel there…and if for some reason she had to vacation there, not to take special precautions, like not getting drunk or taking drugs, by being accompanied by someone whenever she left her hotel,  by being careful whom she befriended in Aruba, etc., etc., etc.

Few knew about the Aruban problem prior to Natalee disappearing and Joran Van der sloot being implicated in her disappearance.  But now the world knows.  Perhaps it is Gary Giordano who is responsible for Ms. Gardiner’s disappearnce, but listening to his being interviewed and answering tough questions, I think he’s telling the truth and is not responsible for Robyn’s disappearance, but I don’t know that for sure.  I believed Bill Clinton when he told the entire country, via TV, that he “did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinski,” so perhaps I’m not a good judge of determining who’s lying.

Men abuse and con women.  Women do likewise to men.  So who can you trust?  Trust is developed over time as you observe someone react to various situations.  But then there’s about 5-10% of the population that has something called “Intermittent Explosive Disorder” or IED.    Something sets off  people afflicted with IED and they lose all control of their emotions.  A good example of IED is in the first “Godfather” movie where a woman receives a phone call from her husband’s mistress and learns that he is cheating on her and she consequently throws a fit of fury and attempts to destroy everything in her home.

You may never see a significant other with this problem display such a fit rage until after the wedding.  That’s why you need to be around someone for a sufficient amount of time so you  can witness any really bad behavior prior to making any committment.  Was Robyn around Gary long enough to see if  he was sane,  was she kidnapped into a lifetime of multiple daily rapes, or did she simply drown?  I don’t know but for sure, if you’re a young woman, you really should consider vacationing somewhere other than Aruba.

PAY-FOR-PERFORMANCE

One difficult area in managing programs and supervising people is fairly compensating them, especially compensating them fairly in relation to each other.  Most managers believe in the idea of using pay increases as an incentive for motivating employees to do good work.   However, “pay-for-performance”  has embedded within it an intrinsic unfairness which I’m not sure can be fully overcome.

Basically, supervisors within an organization each rate with differing degrees of difficulty.  Though logistically impossible, theoretically it would be ideal to have one person rate everyone in an organization because this would guarantee that everyone was rated with the same degree of difficulty.   But even then, because some employees are favored by a supervisor over others, bias  creeps into the rating system.

If a performance rating had no consequences, a good or bad rating wouldn’t matter much.  However, it’s  frequently used for determining monetary increases, awards, and even used in deciding who goes and who stays when an organization is downsized.  So performance rating systems are important.

The origins of the Federal employee performance rating systems reside in the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.   Having worked for the Federal government for over 40 years, I know that many Federal agencies do have relatively good systems because  most describe in detail what fully-successful performance is for each job.   However, even with built-in safeguards, the Federal systems still still contain  the hazards enumerated above.  So what’s to be done?  I believe that performance ratings, while potentially important and useful, should not be used for anything too important because they’re simply not accurate enough.   By important, I mean being used to determine who gets the pink slips when an organization is downsized.  Awards are fine, even small monetary awards, but nothing that determines who loses their job, because none of  the systems I’ve seen  are fair and accurate enough to be used for this purpose.  So how does a supervisor/manager determine who stays and who goes?

To do the job right takes a lot of savvy…and it’s complex…because you’re potentially adversely affecting someone’s life, so you should be cautious.  First is something that appears in no performance rating system but is commonly used in making personnel decisions.  Of course, that’s “loyalty”.  A manager/supervisor does not want an employee badmouthing him/her, not simply for personal reasons, but also because this undercuts the supervisor’s/manager’s effectiveness.   But if an employee does have legitimate criticism, s/he  should do it behind closed doors (“praise in public, criticize in private”).  This actually is then a good thing for a supervisor/manager…getting feedback, positive and negative,  from employees, though some supervisors might not like it and retaliate later.

The next important consideration is the employee’s “attitude.”  This is important because employees will need to work in teams, at least occasionally, and most likely much more than occasionally.  A “can-do” attitude and one of “perseverance” and “realistic optimism” is important.

After these two factors are met, then it’s time to examine job performance closely.  The first two factors alone are not good enough.  Competency is critically important, but only after “loyalty” and “attitude” are deemed at least O.K.

 

 

INJUSTICE (audio interview)

Below is a link to click on a 25-minute audio interview from September 2010 with J. Christian Adams on the racial discrimination by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department in not prosecuting  the New Black Panther party for its voter intimidation in the 2008 presidential election at a Philadelphia voting place.

Mr. Adams has published his book on the incident and its mishandling by DOJ.  However, this audio interview of Mr. Adams contains the fundamentals of the case.

Mr. Adams served in the Voting Section at the Department of Justice from 2005 to 2010.  He litigated a variety of cases in U.S. District Courts around the country including redistricting, voter intimidation and election process litigation.  Prior to that he served as General Counsel to the South Carolina Secretary of State.  In private practice in Virginia he has litigated a wide variety of matters.  He has a J.D. from the University of South Carolina School of Law and a B.A. in English from West Virginia University and is a member of both the West Virginia and the South Carolina Bar.

J Christian Adams Audio – Injustice


The  interview was conducted by Mike Russo on his former radio program, Mike Russo Expose’.

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