OVERCOMING RACISM and DISCRIMINATION

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

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

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

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

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

HOW EXTENSIVE A PROBLEM IS DISCRIMINATION

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

HOW DISCRIMINATION DEVELOPS

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

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

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

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

HOW TO HANDLE DISCRIMINATION

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

FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE

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

CONCLUSION

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

WHY PUTIN & RUSSIA RESPECT PRESIDENT TRUMP: CHINA!

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

China is on the move.  Its economy routinely grows at about 10%/year (compared to less than 2%/year for the 8 “Obama” years in the U.S.).  Its military is expanding exponentially and China has nuclear weapons.  It also has approximately 1.3 billion people, about 4 times the population of the United States (Russia’s population is 143 million).  On the other hand, Russia and China share a border of thousands of miles,  Mother Russia needs a big, strong friend in the event its neighbor to the south becomes aggressive towards it, which China’s phenomenal military build-up makes a distinct possibility.  Moreover, China is concerned about Russia, especially after Russia militarily annexed Crimea.  President Trump is making the U.S. very strong again which I believe Putin believes he might need at some point, a very strong America, to counter the Chinese threat to Russia.  On the other hand, Hillary Clinton’s base (her voters) would not have allowed her to strengthen the military, even if she wanted to do just that.  To place each country in perspective, it’s important to know where each country stands insofar as military spending.  Here’s the stats on annual military spending (for 2016) by the three players:  U.S.: $596 billion;  China, $215 billion; Russia, $66 billion. For the next two years the U.S. is spending $700 billion this year and $716 billion next year.

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

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

HOW IS PRESIDENT TRUMP GOVERNING? PROS & CONS

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

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

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

The “cons” concern President Trump’s personal shortcomings, as well as things that he has said.   Now let’s look at the “pros,” those positive features of President Trump’s presidency. He has done more in his time as President than any other President in American history that I know of.   The Sunday morning political shows are pitiful in explaining this, only looking at legislative accomplishments.  His tax cuts and jobs act, has stimulated the economy to unbelievable highs and unemployment to new lows.

President Trump used Executive Actions, mostly Executive Orders, to get many things done, like temporary immigration bans from countries that have palty records of vetting citizens, of reversing stupid duplicative regulations that kill jobs and hamper job creation, of enforcing immigration laws, etc., etc., etc.  In addition, President Trump has persuaded many large corporations to pledge billions for new plants and jobs in America.  Moreover, due to his Reagan-like economic plan and pledges from many business leaders, the stock market has increased in value by almost $8 trillion since the day Donald J. Trump was elected president, November 8, 2016.  Moreover, both African-American and Hispanic-American employment is highest in history and female employment is the highest since the 1950’s.  President Trump has earned the reputation of sleeping only a few hours/night…of being an unbelievably hard-worker.  Were it not for fake news on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, New York Times and the Washington Post, I believe the President’s approval would be about 60%.  Instead, it’s 45% today.

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

JUSTICE BRETT KAVANAUGH: ORIGINALIST, NOT ACTIVIST

Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, Thomas Hardiman, and Raymond Kethledge were the four finalists that President Trump considered for the Supreme Court (although I didn’t rule out justice Amul Thapar  or Utah Senator Mike Lee).  All four have their positive attributes and were on the list from the Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation as “originalists”, those legal scholars that interpret the Constitution with the same meaning at the time it was written.  This is very different from “activists”, whom consider the Constitution as a living document whose interpretation changes to meet changing times.  Originalists believe that either legislation should be passed when changes are needed or the Constitution amended, not the interpretation of the Constitution changed with the times.

Democrat leadership is attempting to portray President Trump selection, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, as being anti Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that currently allows abortions.  The fact that an “originalist”was selected should actually make the Left feel better because originalists are committed to not interpreting the Constitution to mean what they want it to mean, but what the founders meant when they wrote it.  Moreover, Chief Justice John Roberts will not vote to overturn Roe v Wade, so the liberals on the Court would still have a majority on this issue even if Justice Kavanaugh is confirmed by the Senate.

I believe Hardiman, Kavanaugh and Kethledge to be the most qualified but I believe that the Court could really use a conservative female justice like Barrett.  President Trump has chosen Kavanaugh, 53, from the four finalists because of his twelve years of experience on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, writing 300 opinions on many different issues.  In addition, his academic credentials are stellar, with a law degree from Yale and teaching at Harvard, Georgetown, and Notre Dame.  Moreover, very liberal Justice, Elena Kagan, recommended Kavanaugh to be hired by Harvard to teach law.

SINGAPORE: KIM JONG UN and PRESIDENT TRUMP MAKE PEACE


North Korea (NOKO) tested 9 missiles in 2017 but none in 2018.  The United States successfully tested one of its SDI (Strategic Defense Initiative) missiles on May 30, 2017, launching it from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.  It shot down a missile that was launched from the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.  In the recent past it was successful only about 50% of the time, however, with recent improvements, it looks like it’s successful all of the time.  This is very important to the security of South Korea, Japan, and Hawaii, all of which are currently within reach of NOKO’s missiles.  Very shortly, the U.S. mainland will also be within reach of NOKO’s missiles.  Were it not for President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. would not have this “star wars” capability today.  Russian General Secretary Gorbachev pressed Reagan at their nuclear summit in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1986, but Reagan walked out of the talks rather than give up his Strategic Defense Initiative, nicknamed “starwars”.  The Democrat Congress tried to stop its development back then, as well as it and Democrat presidents up to the present, giving the Democrat Party the nickname the “Treason Party”.

NOKO has thousands of conventional artiliary aimed at Seoul,South Korea, many in hardened bunkers.  If the U.S. tried to destroy NOKO’s missile facilities, NOKO could kill at least a million South Koreans before all of their arsenal was obliterated by the U.S..  NOKO has the third largest army, after the U.S. and China. The U.S. recently tried to deploy its one-billion-dollar THAD anti-missile system in South Korea, as well as three aircraft carriers in the waters surrounding North Korea.

Ninety percent of NOKO’s trading is with China, making China very influential over NOKO.  President Trump pressured China to coerce NOKO to stop testing its missiles and meet with President Trump.  China, plus strong trade sanctions, convinced NOKO.  Previous presidents tried bribing NOKO, but NOKO did not keep any of its agreements with the U.S.

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

What will happen as a result of the Singapore Summit and the agreement Trump and Kim signed that NOKO will denuclearize?  No one can know for sure because NOKO has previously lied and cheated, however, I believe that President Trump’s unique personality  and the strong team he has assembled makes him and his administration distinctly capable of guiding the U.S. through these dangerous times.   

BLAME MITCH McCONNELL

Whatever President Trump has promised during the presidential campaign, but does not accomplish, blame Senate Majority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell from Kentucky.  Although he is very experienced and knowledgable, having served as a senator since 1985 and having been the Senate Majority leader since 2015, the 76-year-old senator may prove deadly for Trump and the Republicans keeping the House and Senate in November 2018.

It’s no surprise that Democrat senators oppose everything the President is trying to do.  However, Senator McConnell has the authority, but refuses to use it, to facilitate passage of the President’s legislative agenda, because he can foster changes in the Senate’s archaic rules by abolishing the filibuster rule which require 60 senators to pass most legislation in the Senate.  He can foster a change to be a 51-senator requirement to pass legislation and abolish the Senate’s legislative filibuster rule.  So why would he not do this?  He says that Republicans will eventually be in the minority again and does not want set the precedent to the Democrats for this Senate rule.  Does McConnell have a good point?  That’s what this article will consider.

“Strike while the iron is hot” is one of my beliefs!  The current situation with a Republican President, House and Senate may never occur again so the opportunity it provides needs to be used right now.  Democrat leadership would not hesitate for a second to do it.  So many wonderful things for the U.S. could be done now if the Senate vote threshold were only 51 votes instead of the current 60 votes needed to pass most legislation.  All major legislation has been voted down by the Democrats in the Senate.  Even when an independent-minded Democrat senator is voted in, Democrat leadership threatens him/her with not funding their upcoming races and also with running strong candidates against them in their primary elections.  Thus, they toe the Democrat line.

Let’s hope Senator McConnell sees the light and changes the Senate filibuster rule.  If he doesn’t, he really should be blamed for the huge backlog in the Senate, as well as its inability to pass significant legislation, including legislation for the much-needed wall on our southern border.

 

PAY OFF THE NATIONAL DEBT BY BECOMING ENERGY INDEPENDENT

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finally, Canada was an economic basket case in 2009 and decided to get serious about drilling for oil because it needed the revenue.   It worked, and Canada is now doing very well.  Under President Trump, its neighbor to the south (the U.S.) is now doing the same.  Under Donald Trump’s presidency, America will finally become energy independent and also significantly pay down the $21 trillion National debt.

 

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.

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 from the cold within minutes of birth.

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 also there.

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”?

DRESS FOR JOB SUCCESS

In 1977 I read a book by John Molloy, called Dress for Success.  A few later I read Molloy’s The Women’s Dress for Success book.  In his books, Molloy explained his research on the relationship between clothing and effectivess at your job.   His research began with a small grant exploring whether how teachers dressed affected how much children learned.  His findings showed that a teacher dressing like the upper middle class led to children learning much more. Molloy continued researching, creating many innovative methods for determining the effects of clothing.  His books are based on his research, not on fashion, and are helpful to achievers in most fields of endeavor.

My awakening to this concept came one day while in the snackroom in the basement of the Federal Interior South building in Washington, DC.  While there, the assistant director of the agency I worked for came in to buy a snack.  When he saw me, his eyes and brows grew wide and he momentarily stopped in his tracks before saying hello.  I thought about this encounter and what might account for it.  This process included considering what I was wearing.  BINGO!  I wore red pants, a pink shirt, a white tie with pink polka-dots.  Walking home after work I stopped at a book store to find a book on proper attire, and found John Molloy’s Dress for Success.  I read it, underlined it, taught it in an adult education course, and slowly changed my work clothes to reflect Molloy’s research.

Despite half of my face being paralyzed and my gait being really messed up, I was able to still advance in my career.  So what exactly does Molloy say that can help you in your career?  The look to have is that of the upper middle class.  For men that usually means a blue or grey suit (solid, herringbone, pin-striped, glen plaid, hounds tooth) or navy blue or camel sports jacket, with a white or light blue shirt or a pin striped.  No facial hair is best . Ties should be conservative foulard, repps, solid, polka dot, or paisley.  Men’s jewelry should only be a gold watch, a cross pen, and a wedding ring, if married.  Dark socks and black or dark brown shoes.  For women that usually means a skirted suit, nothing too feminine, not much if any makeup if your under aboutmuch 40, sensible shoes with no high heels, very little jewelry.  The person in the news that has this look is the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen.  If you look closely you will see a very beautinful blonde woman who plays down her beauty and sexuality to emphasize her mind. No/little makeup, no/little jewelry, proper women’s business attire, sensible shoes, etc.  Secretary Nielsen knows what she’s doing.  It’s no accident that President Trump appointed her Secretary of Homeland Security.

On the other hand, there are some very beautiful and sexy women who achieve career success despite their dressing to attract a mate rather than depict their competence on their sleeve.  The person that comes immediately to mind is the White House Communications Director, Hope Hicks.  Ms. Hicks is only 29 years old and should not be wearing much makeup and should be wearing a skirted suit, though her pants suit in this photo with President Trump isn’t bad.  Compare her photo with that of Ms. Nielsen.

The look to achieve for maximum effectiveness in a professional work setting is that of the upper middle class.  Molloy’s books are currently about 40 years old but I have not seen anything that explains things as well.

GOP/TRUMP ECONOMIC PLAN: REDUCE TAX RATES TO INCREASE TAX REVENUE

How can President Trump and the Republican House and Senate pay for large tax cuts and a trillion dollars in infrastructure improvements that they are advocating and still eliminate Budget Deficits and eventually the National Debt?  Few politicians explain this so I thought that a U. of Penn Wharton graduate (me), who should know this, would explain it.  Many are concerned that the large proposed infrastructure spending and proposed tax cuts will force the U.S. further into debt.  If you simply look at the economy as static, this would be true.  However, the economy is dynamic, not static.  Therefore, when you change some things, like reducing corporate taxes from the current 35% to President Trump’s 20%, as well as reducing taxes on the working and the middle classes, this stimulates businesses in many ways, bringing back U.S. business and investment money to America and stimulating new businesses and the growth of existing businesses.  In addition, Trump will repeal the individual mandate contained in Obamacare, which is the penalty that Obamacare imposes on those who chose not to be covered under it, estimated at $358 billion. Finally, there is about $3 trillion in U.S. corporate funds residing in other countries, that with a one-time repatriation tax rate of 10%, will return to the United States and be invested here.

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

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

If some form of the Trump/GOP tax cuts become law, the United States economy (as measured by Gross Domestic Product, GDP) will more than double in 10 years.

 

 

WILL PRESIDENT TRUMP CREATE JOBS & GROW THE ECONOMY?

After most recessions, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth comes back with  a strong minimum 5% increase/year.   But not the recession of 2008-09…annual growth averaged under 2% for the eight years that Barrack Obama was President and the Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate diminished to 62.8%, the lowest it had been since 1978.  Moreover, although the official unemployment rate was under 5%, it would have been about 12% if it were measured the way it was back in the year 2000, and over 20% if it were measured the way it was during the Great Depression in the 30’s.

So what happened under President Obama?  Why not the usual strong growth?  Business had  a few trillion dollars that it held onto oversees, so why didn’t it spend its money to expand its operations and create millions of jobs in the U.S.?  There’s a lot of  reasons why business was cautious in expansion…and we need to understand what the problem was in order to continue to turn around today’s economy and foster substantial job growth (and the increased tax revenues that come with job growth).  Of course, the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is filled with disincentives to job growth, especially full-time jobs, so it was partially responsible. The large number of regulations and tax increases under President Obama also added additional burdens on job creators and that’s another major cause.

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

FORMER  SUCCESSFUL QUICK RECOVERIES

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

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

PAST FAILURES

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

WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA TRIED

Which brings us up to to when President Barrack Obama spent almost a trillion dollars in his “stimulus” package in a effort to turn around the economy…and he also devalued the dollar by having The Federal Reserve Bank print trillions of dollars with no backing through it’s so-called Quantitative Easing 1, 2, and 3.  He also tried other short-term Federal spending programs such as his “cash for clunkers” and engaged in huge annual deficit spending, the extent of which had never been seen before.  His economic policies, based on the discredited theories of economist, John Maynard Keynes,  have actually have made the economy worse by piling up huge government debt (over $20 trillion in total national debt which is greater than the annual GDP of the US), with very little to show for it,  and whose interest payments will be unsustainable when interest rates increase.

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

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

IS CUTTING TAX RATES FAIR?

But stimulating the economy by cutting tax rates isn’t fair, is it?  Even President Obama said in an interview a year or so before he was elected President, when confronted with the fact that cutting the capital gains tax rate in the past had actually resulted in increased tax revenues to the Federal government, that he still would not cut the capital gains tax rate because “it isn’t fair.”

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

THE SOLUTION

Cutting  tax rates and regulations have always worked in the past and would stimulate the economy and thereby create many jobs.   Political ideology is the only thing preventing our government from following these time-tested strategies.   Presidents Kennedy, Reagan and Bush all increased tax revenues by cutting tax rates for everyone.  Today, the bottom 50% of earners pay almost no Federal income taxes…the upper 10 %, on the other hand,  pay over 70% of all Federal income taxes.  If you believe that’s not enough, how much is enough?  The U.S. corporate tax rate is currently 35%, the highest in the world, and consequently has led to many businesses moving their operations and jobs to other countries and has caused the United States to lose many jobs.  It’s estimated that there are at least 3 trillion dollars off-shore that we could entice back to the US if we offered a temporary ten percent corporate tax rate for the first few years and a contract stating that the corporation would remain in the US for at least another 5 years.  The US needs to put ideology aside and focus on solving the nation’s economic problems.  Although  President Obama appeared very friendly, his policies have really hurt the United States, so it’s time for newly-elected President Trump to: 1)cut tax rates on the working and middle classes, as well as on businesses; 2)rein in the Environmental Protection Agency from over-regulation; 3)eliminate job and small business-killing regulations; 4)cut corporate income taxes from their current 35% (the highest in the world) to 20% to lure back the large number of businesses that moved overseas to escape the U.S. confiscatory taxes; and 5)repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) since it has significantly hampered business expansion.   President Donald Trump has done or will do these things and by so doing will grow the economy and create jobs and consequently significantly reduce the U.S.’ annual budget deficits.

The U.S. Senate, however, due to its slim Republican majority and arcane rules, may not be able to approve the bills necessary to implement the necessary changes.  If this happens, many Senators will lose their jobs in 2018.  However, even without major tax cuts, President Trump, through Executive Orders and deals with many countries and corporations, has increased GDP to over 3% growth for the last two budget quarters.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE UPDATE: PROS & CONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President Trump signed an Executive Order on January 24, 2017 ordering the re-opening of the approval process for the pipeline.  On March 23, the State Department granted a permit for the construction of the pipeline to proceed.  The pipeline has been completed and is in use.  There was a minor oil leak in November ’17 and the pipeline was temporarily shut down.

 

 

CURING HEARTBURN

Acid Reflux, heartburn, GERD…many names for stomach acid creeping up past a weakened lower esophageal sphincter (LES) into the esophagus and burning it since the esophagus is not protected from stomach acid like the stomach.  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  (Nexium, Protonix, etc.)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 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 5-7 hours of sleep?  After searching around, I eventually 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 2-4 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 at bedtime whenever I have a flare-up.  Sauerkraut works.  Try it!  There’s nothing to lose (except your heartburn).

CAN REPUBLICANS AND CONSERVATIVES TALK?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S FIRST 100 DAYS

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

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

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

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

4. Signed 28 bills into law.

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

6. Appointed an extremely well-qualified cabinet.

7. Decreased illegal alien border crossings by 73%.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

17. Etc., etc., etc.

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

DID MAINSTREAM MEDIA DESTROY OBAMA’S PRESIDENCY?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

I saw the movie, “Hillary’s America,” on Verizon and thought it was a “must see” film for anyone who voted for Mrs. Clinton or any Democrat, so I thought I’d write a brief preview which Democrat voters might find healing .  The movie, now on DVD, was written, co-directed, and narrated by Dinesh D’Souza.  While it was mostly accurate,  I thought it went too far at times in assigning motives to the Clintons’ behavior.

The movie begins with Dinesh being tried for the crime of giving too much money to a friend running for political office.  He then goes to jail for this and subsequently learns there how criminals scam and defraud, and also that criminals believe the biggest crooks and thieves are politicians.  From there the movie takes the audience on a historical journey starting with the first Democrat President, Andrew Jackson.  President Jackson directed the creation of reservations for Native Americans and the round-up and removal of many of them to Oklahoma (the “Trail of Tears”).  It talks about the creation of the Republican Party, dedicated to freedom for the slaves and liberty for everyone.

It then addresses the fact that the Democrat Party strongly favored slavery and that every Klu Klus Klan member was a Democrat.  Moreover, that it sponsored the Jim Crow laws that were designed to subjugate African-Americans and championed Blacks from owning guns so they could not defend themselves from the Klan.  It talks about Democrat President Woodrow Wilson who was a racist and sexist and led to the re-emergence of the Klu Klux Klan.  Then it discusses Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood as a means to suppress the African-American population.

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

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

HILLARY CLINTON vs. DONALD TRUMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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).

 

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!

 

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.

 

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.

  

TRAYVON v. GEORGE v. THE RACE-OBSESSED MEDIA

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.

 

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 of 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?  Of course I can’t know for sure, but if you’re a young woman, you really should consider vacationing somewhere other than Aruba.

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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