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.

 

 

All Services

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.

KILLING THE GOLDEN GOOSE (the U.S. economy)

The golden goose (the U.S. economy) is still hurting.   So what’s to be done, if anything, by the Trump Administration?  There are many ideas on how to help the goose but what’s been done in the past few years hasn’t helped much.  The unemployment rate, while it has improved, is misleading because it computes part-time employees as employed and they currently make up about 3/4 of the newly employed.  In addition, people who are no longer actively looking for work, are not counted as being unemployed. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown about 2% in the past 12 months, which is pitiful compared to usual  U.S. economic recoveries, which normally are about 5%/year.  The Civilian Labor Participation Rate is 62.7%, the lowest it has been since the late seventies.  To arrive at an effective solution on how to help the economy, one must discover the reasons that initially caused, and are still causing, it to be lackluster.

The initial causes were finally spelled out clearly in the book, Reckless Endangerment, by Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner:  the quasi-government mortgage institutions, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Basically, they forced banks to loan mortgage money to people who could not repay them, and they did this because of the amendments to the Community Reinvestment Act that President Clinton pushed through and that Representative Barney Frank and Senator Chris Dodd, as Committee Chairmen in the House and Senate in 2006, would not allow to be changed to make them fiscally sound.

But that’s “water under the bridge” so to speak, or is it?  The Dodd-Frank bill, which was supposed to add regulations mostly on banks to prevent the economic downturn from happening again, does not even address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  It does ensure the failure of small community banks by placing  reporting burdens on them that only large banks can afford to comply with and making the penalties to banks so severe (the government would  take them  over) that banks are afraid to make loans.  But Dodd-Frank is just one minor peg in the goose’s coffin.

Other factors hurting our goose is Obamacare, which is slowly going into effect.  Obamacare affects everyone in the United States.  The President said it was based on Romney-care, or the medical insurance system put into place under then-Massachusetts-governor Mitt Romney.   Romney-care, however, only affected the 8% of Massachusettes residents who were not covered by medical insurance.

Then there’s the huge increase in the National Debt which is bankrupting the U.S. and thrusting a knife into the heart of the formerly “Golden” Goose.  Positive,  job-creating actions, like the Keystone Pipeline, which would also provide much-needed oil, were defeated by the President.

I could go on and on and on, but I think you have the idea…policy after policy is each hurting the economy.  I think that  we went over the fiscal cliff on November 1, 2012, when we re-elected someone who does not understand how the economy works.  With the inauguration of President Trump on January 20, 2017, the U.S. economy will tur around and there will be significant improvement in the economy.

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.

DESTROYING THE U.S. ECONOMY

When the U.S. dollar no longer is  the world’s reserve currency because of irresponsible and frivolous overspending, President Obama will blame the wealthy and Republicans instead of himself.  When this happens, and it will happen, there will be dire consequences to the U.S. economy and the standard of living of most Americans.

President Obama is able to overspend because the Federal Reserve is currently  loaning billions of dollars each month to the Federal government. In other words, the right hand is loaning money to the left hand. Where does the right hand (the Federal Reserve) get the money? It simply prints it because it has the legal authority to do so.  It’s backed by nothing…not gold, not borrowed money from China.  The logical conclusion of this practice is severe devaluing of the currency, which will wipe out savings that are in dollars.  Think how this will destroy lives. Does Obama care?  He’s doesn’t like the wealthy and this will make them poor overnight (along with many others), and therefore unable to continue to pay 70% of all Federal income taxes, which is what the wealthy currently pay.  But the President speaks so well and is funny and smart, right?  How can this be?

President Obama is a far-left Chicago politician who speaks well and moderately, but the unintended consequences of his policies are destroying America.  American  healthcare  is being destroyed as Obamacare is implemented. Moreover, it will help bankrupt the U.S. even faster. But doesn’t the President mean well and isn’t he trying his best?  I don’t know, but his real intentions are irrelevant.  He doesn’t know how to fix the economy and his policies are destroying it.

After Ronald Reagan’s Presidency I thought the issue of how to turn around an economy had been resolved.  By cutting selected taxes and burdensome and unnecessary regulations, the private sector was let loose to make tons of money and put people back to work, and consequently also increased revenues to the government (which were used to help the poor and strengthen the military).   But without overspending how could crooked politicians make money on the side?  Money needs to change hands, contracts need to be awarded, in order to swindle the big bucks…and that money helps buy elections.  The stimulus packages mostly served this purpose and President Obama’s “Quantitative Easing” from the Federal Reserve gave us funny money.

The United States is in for some bad times and the reason is President Obama’s misguided policies.

HOW TO CHOOSE A SPOUSE

One of the most important decisions most people will ever make is who to marry, if anyone.   A good marriage can be very fulfilling, so if you marry,  you would want it to succeed, make both of you happy, and last a lifetime.   How do you do that?  Some marriage counselors have much  more than their share of broken marriages, and I have had two marriages and two divorces, but it’s true that you learn a lot more from your failures than from your successes, so I’m presenting my analysis.  But first let’s look at a few statistics on marriage:

o 50% of married couples will eventually divorce

o 60% of second marriages fail

o 31% of people in a marriage have had an affair

o 47% of people in a marriage are not sure they would marry the same person again

In an interview with Longevity magazine years ago, actress Zsa Zsa Gabor was asked, “do you think you’ll ever meet the right man?”  She replied, “I was very lucky because I find eight times the right man.”  Of course we want our first  and only spouse to be the right man or woman.  My experience with marriage/relationships comes from my two marriages, two divorces, living with a girlfriend for three years and reading everything I could get on marriage and relationships so that I wouldn’t ever have another divorce.  Here’s my advice for selecting a lifelong mate:

1. It’s very helpful if you and your intended are best friends before you marry, to the extent that you both can be yourselves and be able to joke around with each other and have fun in each other’s company.

2. Being honest with each other is very helpful.  Making “I” statements can make this possible, so you might say, “I think that…” rather than imperial statements such as, “that’s bad” or “that’s good.”  Be diplomatic in your honest communications with each other, and not lie…but do not be brutally frank or unkind.   Why is being honest important?  Because it fosters trust and intimacy.  Look for honesty in a potential mate.

3. Respect each other’s feelings about people, ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and interests.  Of course, the more of these you have in common, the better, but you really need to respect your significant other’s views even though they may be very different from yours.  Does your spouse-to-be respect your feelings?

4. Resolving differences amicably is something that John Gottman PhD, marriage researcher and counselor, advocates as one of the most important skills for maintaining a good marriage.  My first marriage lacked this and was the underlying culprit responsible for its failure.  To check this out you need to be going together long enough to have at least one good fight or big disagreement to see if you both can resolve it amicably.  This ability might be more important than all of the others.

5. Dr. Gottman: “a healthy balance between positive and negative feelings and actions toward each other…really separates contented couples from those in deep marital misery.”  Further, “if there is five times as much positive interaction as negative between couples, the marriage is likely to be stable over time.”  Dr. Gottman then specifies that negative interactions are criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling.  To use this in determining how well you and your significant other might get along as husband and wife, look at your positive and negative interactions…is there a healthy balance?  If not, modify your behavior so that it becomes healthy.

Not listed above is the question of romance and sex.  Of course these are very important…in fact, I heard a marriage counselor comment that, “if the sex is good, the marriage is usually good.”

Even if you do everything well, there’s still no guarantee that your marriage will succeed.  To illustrate, Ellen Kriedman states in her book, Light her Fire, “while dating, a man usually has no problem talking, because he has a goal in mind.  He wants her to find him desirable, so he’s charming, witty and pays a great deal of attention to what she’s saying.  He wants to discover what her needs are so that he can fulfill them.  As a result, he has a woman who finds him irresistible.  Once this happens and she’s his forever, he stops talking.  In his mind, there’s less need to talk and listen to her than there was in the beginning.”  And, of course, the female partner might equally change after marriage, but in a different way.

Finally, it’s certainly a lot easier, after discussing your concerns with each other, to stop dating someone whom you think you would be incompatible with, rather than marrying him or her and eventually getting divorced after a few years of marriage and two children.  It’s far better to be single a little longer rather than getting married quickly and being miserable because your prince or princess turned out to be a frog, con artist, spouse abuser, philanderer, alcoholic, drug addict, gambling addict, etc.  Whatever your problems, things can always get a whole lot worse.  If you love someone even though he or she has serious problems, it’s important to consider what your heart says, but your mind must make final decisions…and keep in mind that few spouses, partners and significant others are better companions and more loyal friends than homeless stray cats or dogs that might visit your home for food and water, so you might want to consider adopting a stray for companionship and take your time before choosing a spouse.

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.

CURING HEARTBURN

Acid Reflux, heartburn, GERD…many different names for stomach acid creeping up past a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to the esophagus and burning it since the esophagus is not protected from stomach acid like the stomach is.  Stopping heartburn is very important because chronic heartburn can lead to esophageal cancer.

For about six months I had a major case of heartburn which bothered me most of the time.  Since proton pump inhibitors and other acid- reducers have many bad side effects, like the stomach having too weak an acid environment to digest important nutrients like calcium and thus pose a significant increase in the risk of hip fractures due to the consequent osteoporosis, I only used them for the recommended two weeks at a time.  Proton pump inhibitors helped me greatly but after the recommended two weeks, my heartburn returned.  Then I only used Tums and other calcium carbonate chews to quickly reduce my stomach acid when I had stomach pain.

I am not a physician, but over the years I tried all of the well-know remedies such as: 1)avoiding fried, spicy and acidic foods, 2) placing 6″- high blocks of wood under the  head-of-my-bed supports, 3)not eating for a few hours before going to bed, 4)not wearing tight fitting belts or pants, 5)not lying down flat after eating, 6)not drinking coffee or eating chocolate, but if I really craved it, just having a cup or two a day of coffee/day or an ounce or so of chocolate/day.

I tried all of these remedies at once, and still do, and although it helped during the daytime, it didn’t make any difference while I was lying flat sleeping (when it’s  easier for stomach acid to flow up the esophagus).   So what else was out there other than medications that could allow me to get 7 hours of sleep?  I read that cabbage juice was effective so I tried eating about 1/4 can of sauerkraut every night about an hour or so before I went to bed.  To my pleasant surprise, I was able to sleep straight through to 7 am instead of my usual 4-5 am because my heartburn did not flare up with pain at its usual time.  Over the days, weeks and months I continued my bedtime sauerkraut snack-cure to the extent that my heartburn completely disappeared.  Today my heartburn is gone but I still eat sauerkraut whenever I have a flare-up.  Sauerkraut works.  Try it!  There’s nothing to lose (except your heartburn).

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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