UNDERSTANDING SEXUAL HARASSMENT

What do  mogul Harvey Weinstein, former Senator Al Frankin, Congressman John Conners, and Jeffrey Epstein, all have in common?  All have been accused of sexual harrassment!  From hearing victims’ sexual harassment stories, I believe it’s very important to first clearly define exactly what sexual harassment is.  Having done EEO counseling collateral-duty (part-time)  while working full-time as a program analyst with the U.S. Department of the Interior, I’m familiar with the clear definition of sexual harassment by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, at 29 C.F.R. 1604.11, as follows:

Sexual Harassment is conduct in the form of “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostlite, or offensive working environment.” 

Except for its legal implications, it’s not important to someone who feels harassed, frightened, or intimidated, whether s/he has been technically and legally sexually harassed. The following very relevant quote is taken from an article by Mortimer Zuckerman that appeared in the May 23, 1994, issue of US News and World Report:

“That sexual harassment exists is unquestionable, but that many acts of sexual misconduct are overdramatized is also true.  To avoid trivializing those who suffer the real thing, we must reject the idea that any unwanted advance or remark constitutes harassment.  There is a difference between an unwanted encounter, which may upset a woman, and pressure applied — such as threatening a woman’s job security — or ongoing demeaning treatment.  Those wrongly accused have their own ordreal in trying to prove a negative.”

When I was working for a U.S. Department of the Interior bureau in Denver in 1991, I also belonged to a public speaking club where someone accused me of “inappropriate behavior.”  Moreover, even before hearing my rebuttal, the club voted me out, whereupon I hired a lawyer to help me get my “due process” rights that were listed in the club’s charter.  In working through the details of the case, the accuser could not cite any examples of what I did that was inappropriate.  I sought advice from many people on how to handle the incident.  The psychiatrist I consulted advised that, since the woman had recently went through a horrible divorce,  she was taking out her anger on me.  I also read many books on communication problems, including the excellent, You Just Don’t Understand, by Deborah Tannen.

CONCLUSION

Both men and women need to learn how to deal with sexual harassment.  Men need to understand that women can destroy their lives and therefore they need to be more considerate of women’s feelings and perceptions and educate themselves on how and when many women become uncomfortable with some of their actions, such as using foul language, coming on too strong, and being too aggressive.  One of man’s basic evolutionary roles was to protect women; it’s wrong to harass them.

Women need to educate themselves on sexual harassment and how to handle various situations in a manner that eliminates the problem with a minimum of anguish.

Finally, for those trying to judge what the truth is in a potential sexual harassment encounter, remember to not completely believe anyone regardless of his/her gender; just follow the evidence.

 

 

DEFENDING AGAINST THE KNOCKOUT GAME

There’s a very dangerous so-called “game” being played by young men in America.  It has maimed hundreds and killed dozens of people.  The object of this vicious “game” is to knock out someone with one punch to the face or head.  Most of the perpetrators are young black males and most of the victims are  white men and women of any age.  Racist?  Obviously!

What’s behind this brutal “game”?  Some say that fatherless boys are being initiated into a gang.  Others quote the perps as saying they just wanted something to do.  So who and what is really to blame?  It’s complicated with lots of blame to go around.  But to even begin solving this problem, we must first understand it.  Let’s begin with the blame:

1.Single mothers can do a good job in raising their girls and boys up until they reach puberty (about 12-13).  After puberty is usually too late for boys but even then a good man in the house is essential to serve  both as a role model and a disciplinarian to boys.

2.Fathers who don’t stick around to be fathers to their children, especially to their boys.

3.Boys without fathers either join a gang or the Boy Scouts.  In poor socioeconomic areas, gangs are prevalent and single-parent homes are epidemic and are the breeding ground for sociopaths.

4.The Welfare System, which provides financial incentives for single-parent families and encourages, through its policy of providing financial assistance to mothers only if there is “no man in the house.”

5.The News Media for not reporting on incidents of the Knockout Game so that people are forewarned and know that they need to be more careful when walking around.

Okay, so what can be done to stop the carnage?  First and foremost is that the Media do its job of reporting all incidents of the “Knockout Game” so that the elderly and women will know what situations to avoid.  I’ve seen reporting of the Knockout Game on Fox News only and therefore I know that most people have not heard about it nor know what it is, and therefore are especially vulnerable.

The second thing that can be done depends on politicians and government officials.  In no government program should a “man in the house” prevent a woman from receiving welfare payments…because a good man in the house is usually needed in order to raise sons to become good men.

The third action that would help thwart the Knockout Game is to do everything possible to keep young men occupied…working, if possible.  Because raising the minimum wage to $10+/hour is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office to cost from 500,000 to 1,000,000 youths to lose their jobs because their employers could no longer afford to pay them, that idea should be shelved for now (or raised only a $1/hour for now).  Minimum wage jobs are entry-level jobs…About half of those minimum-wage employees are making more than that after 6 months on the job.  Many youth will never get that first job if the minimum wage is raised too high.

Since the Media refuses to do its job, clergy need to talk about it in their churches.  This is not ideal, but it would get the word out (forewarn) to many potential victims so they can take appropriate actions (avoid potentially-dangerous situations).

Politicians’ constantly beat the drums alleging racism/sexism  behind everything and agitate Women, Blacks, Latinos, Native Americans, etc. for political purposes and mainstream media will therefore probably never report insightfully and analytically. Politicians need to stop the “race-baiting.”

Local police and local judicial systems must fairly and justly put the perps away for a long time.

Potential victims need to keep distance between themselves and individual and small groups of young men.

The barbaric “Knockout Game” may never completely go away but hopefully it will diminish to the point where it won’t hurt many people.

 

LESSONS I LEARNED FROM MY FOLKS

Do you remember how to do geometry and trigonometry from high school?  For most people geometry and triginometry are two of the subjects that they were required to learn in order to graduate, both of which most people will never need or use.  This article is about five important lifelong lessons I learned from my folks that I really needed and used throughout my lifetime and that they don’t teach you in school.

The five lessons are:

  1. Remember that the world is a cold place without family and friends
  2. Help whoever and whenever you can
  3. Treat everyone fairly
  4. Get a good education
  5. Do the best you can, live to your potential

 

First lesson. I remember my mom telling me, “Michael, the world’s a cold place without family and friends.” My mom came from a very large family…9 brothers and sisters…and she had many friends…her neighbor friends, her work friends, and her poker friends. Why are family and friends so important…they’re the people that know you and care about you…so when you reach low points in your life or just need someone to talk to, they usually give invaluable emotional support…and of course you support them when they need it.  At my mom’s funeral there were about 500 family and friends who came to see her one last time and to pay their respects to her family. It was unbelievable!

Second lesson. “Help whoever and whenever you can.” I knew my father was a good person, helping anyone that needed help, but even I was surprised at his funeral when strangers came up to me and told stories about how my father had helped them. I worked at my father’s grocery store on weekends and during summers when I was a child. The store was located in a very poor neighborhood in Philadelphia and most of our customers were on welfare. The children of the poorest families would come to the store every day for one of my father’s “free sandwiches.” As I got older my father would often send me to Philadelphia’s city hall and to Pennsylvania’s state office building with needy people to speak on their behalf in an effort to get them emergency aid. In addition, my father told me that his mother gave baskets of food to poor families during the depression…so I understand where he learned his compassion and helped whoever and whenever he could.

Third lesson. “Treat everyone fairly.” My folks felt strongly about treating everyone fairly. Both had friends from other races and nationalities. They sent me to a junior high school that was 75% minority to help me learn how to get along with people who were different from me. My dad constantly asked me about my agency’s (US Department of the Interior) dealings with Native Americans and my mom frequently quoted pearls of wisdom and common sense from her African-American girlfriends at work.

Fourth lesson. “Get a good education.” My parents believed in their children getting a good education, and although I only wanted to be a forest ranger, even that required a college degree. So when the time came, my mom went to work for a meat-packing company making sausage in a cold, refrigerated room in order to pay for my sisters, brother and I to go to college.

Fifth lesson. “Do the best you can.” My first semester at Penn state was a failure. When I came home for spring break my parents tried to comfort me with, “Michael, as long as you did the best you could, you have nothing to be ashamed of.” Well, I wasn’t doing the best I could…playing ping pong until 3 am in the morning the night before my midterm exams, but I heeded my parents words and knuckled down and did the best I could…and consequently got good grades. Eventually I received my bachelor’s degree from Penn state and my master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

In conclusion, my folks taught my brother, sisters and I many lessons, just five of which I shared with you.  But unlike courses like geometry and trig, they are lessons that have been useful throughout my entire lifetime.  Now, when I encounter a tough situation, I ask myself, “What would my parents advise?” Their advice has resulted in my usually making better decisions. So “Mom and Dad, wherever you are, thank you for teaching me the lessons I needed to live a good life.

CHOOSING A PRESIDENT: DONALD TRUMP?

On November 8, 2016 Americans made a decision that was one of the most important in the history of the United States: electing for Donald Trump to be the President of the United States.  Many believe that politics is stupid because of all of the partisan bickering that goes on.  That may or may not be true, but it’s irrelevant…our President makes decisions that affect not only us, but our children, grandchildren, and many others around the world.

Based on the controversy of this Presidential election, I developed the following non-partisan criteria for selecting a President.  I came up with them after looking at everyone else’s and concluding that they were inadequate.  My qualifications for doing this are: I followed politics for over 60 years, my Masters degree from the University of Pennsylvania is in Government Administration, and I’ve worked for the Federal, State and local governments for 44 years.  My 6  criteria for choosing a President are listed below and are prioritized and listed in the order of their importance (#1 is the most important and #6 the least important).

1. POSITIONS ON ISSUES:  this criterium might also be called “ideology”  and is really the most important reason why one should select one presidential candidate over another.

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

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

4. OPEN-MINDEDNESS:  In U.S. politics, the politician is either on the left or the right and this ideology  can be constraining at times for finding the best solutions to a problem or dilemma, so willingness to “going-across-the-aisle” and being good listener can be a great asset for a president.

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

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

You may agree or disagree with my 6 criteria or perhaps you simply may want to add a few more.  Whatever…but it is important to have criteria (or standards) to use, otherwise you’ might do what many people do: vote solely by political party, vote because of something irrelevant like age, gender, physical appearance, ethnicity, race, or emotions.  While most elections don’t matter that  much, the 2016 Presidential election was one of the most important in U.S. history, and the 2020 Presidential election will also be very important because in his second term President Trump I predict will mostly eliminate annual budget deficits and devise a plan and strategy to pay down the National debt if both the Senate and House have Republican majorities.

It used to be relatively easy to carefully consider my aforementioned six criteria in judging presidential candidates.  With today’s partisan media, it’s very difficult, but it can be done with great effort.  The fate of the U.S. depends on it.

 

COULD NORTH KOREA DESTROY THE U.S.?


North Korea (NOKO) currently has two satelites circling the earth, possibly containing a super-EMP (electro-magnetic-pulse) weapon.  NOKO also has submarines and is also very close to having intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) capable of reaching America and is working feverishly on developing miniaturizing nuclear warheads to place onto the ICBMs.  Why a NOKO EMP nuclear bomb?  NOKO (accidentally) received EMP technology from Russia around 2004 and its nuclear tests have the signature of EMPs.

Could the United States go from being the world’s superpower to being impoverished, like previous great powers through the ages?  Anything is possible, but I believe that an Electric Magnetic Pulse (EMP) would seriously cripple the United States unless the U.S.  hardens its electric generation and transmission infra-structure (at a cost of at least $2 billion).

If you saw the recent version of the movie, “Godzilla,” you know a little about what EMPs can do.  EMPs are the greatest threat to the United States today and have even been caused naturally, and are likely how the U.S. might be destroyed by NOKO, Iran, etc. with 90% of its population starved to death the first year following a major EMP.

If what I say is true, why haven’t you heard of it?  What are EMPs?  And is there anything that can be done to protect the United States from them, both those caused by nature and those caused by terrorists?

Electro-Magnetic Pulses can be caused naturally by Solar Sun Spots and Flares or by people using nuclear bombs exploded high above the ground.  A lightning strike is a small  EMP.  There were EMP’s in 1859, when there was little electricity in use and therefore just telegraphs were affected; in 1989, in Quebec; and a near-miss in 2012 when the earth was just missed by a major coronal ejection of the Sun that would have devastated the earth’s electronics.

Three nuclear bombs detonated over the U.S. could cause EMPs of such magnitude that all electronics (in phones, computers, autos, TVs, radios, etc.) would be “fried” and the U.S. would revert to stone age existence with 90% of Americans dead within one year from starvation and people killing each other over food.  Because the U.S. has submarines with nuclear weapons on rockets, the U.S. can retaliate against aggressors but some religious terrorists (like those in Iran) don’t care about retaliation.  In addition, to be effective in creating a EMP, a nuclear bomb would have to be detonated at least 25 miles above the earth, about in the middle of the United States.  Getting there undetected should be difficult, unless that lost Malaysian plane is somewhere in terrorist hands (and therefore could be disguised and used to carry a nuclear bomb above 25,000 feet altitude.

The SHIED Act (HR 2417, H.R. 668, etc.) championed by Congressmen Peter DeFazio (R-OR) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT)  and the chair of the Electromagnetic Caucas, Trent Franks (R-AZ), is legislation that needs to be passed as soon as possible to get the government moving in protecting the U.S. from both naturally-occurring, terrorist-caused, and State-sponsored EMP nuclear bombs.  Passage of the SHIELD Act and its implementation would enable the United States.

President Trump’s and Secretary Pompeo’s negotiations have reduced the threat from North Korea and the strong economic sanctions imposed by the United States are really hurting NOKO and hopefully will force it to begin reducing it’s nuclear arsenal. We’ll soon find out.

 

.

SON OF HAMAS

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

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

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

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

DEMOCRAT PARTY IS NOT LIBERAL, REPUBLICAN PARTY NOT CONSERVATIVE

INTRODUCTION

Everyone knows that the Democrat Party is the liberal (or Progressive) party and the Republican Party is the conservative party.  But is this true?  I don’t think so.  Here’s why:  the Democrat and Republican parties stake out positions on many issues, most of which are neither liberal nor conservative.  It is much more accurate to characterize their positions as being either Democrat or Republican positions rather than liberal or conservative.

                                                                             BODY

For example,  is the $22 trillion U.S. National Debt liberal or conservative? Of course, it’s neither!  How about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?  Once again, a safety net for the elderly and the poor is neither liberal or conservative.  I could continue on but I believe I made my point.  However, I can successfully argue that a strong military is favored by the Republican Party and a weak military is favored by the Democrat Party.  In addition, non-enforcement of our immigration laws is a tenet of the Democrat Party and strict enforcement is a tenet of the Republican Party.  Once again, these are not liberal or conservative positions but are simply political party political preferences.  Another example, Sanctuary Cities are favored by the Democrat Party but are not by the Republican Party.  Another, man-made climate change is a Democrat idea, whereas Sun-caused (Solar-Flares, Sun Spots, Weak Solar Cycles 25, 26) climate change is a Republican idea.  Abortion is supported by Democrats, anti-abortion by Republicans.  None of these positions have anything to do with liberalism or conservatism so why muddy the waters?  Call them what there are: positions taken by either the Democrat Party or the Republican Party.

CONCLUSION

I think the language that is thrown around against both liberals and conservatives is sloppy, irresponsible and misleading and it needs to stop because it confuses voters.  Voters need to know what each political party stands for with much more precision and clarity so that they know exactly what policies they are supporting.  Calling voters names is what some people do when they can’t make intelligent, logical, and cogent arguments to support their positions.  I can’t find much to suggest that the Democrat Party is Liberal or Progressive, and that the Republican Party is Conservative so let’s call political party positions Democrat positions or Republican positions and drop the liberal and conservative labels. They are misleading.

 

WAR ON WOMEN

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

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

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

You might reply, “you’re referring to their personal lives, not their policies.”  Okay, let’s look at Democrat Party policies.  The most significant example I can think of involves women receiving welfare.  There’s a provision in the welfare law concerning women with dependent children that requires that a man can’t reside in the house of the (female) welfare recipient, otherwise the woman would be removed from the welfare rolls.  This provision has the unintended consequence that led to 77% of African-American households with children, and about 30% of white households, being led by only one parent.  This is very important because most of societal  pathologies stem from boys being raised without fathers.  Although Massachusetts Democrat Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan studied welfare in the 60’s and reported on the problem, the Democrat Congress would not revise welfare to address it, for fear of losing African-American voters.

Frequently, you hear feminists say that women’make 77 cents for every dollar men make.  I first heard this statistic way back in the seventies so naturally I questioned whether it could still be that amount 50 years later.  I learned years ago that it really was due to the disruption in paid work-life that most women encounter because of child-rearing.  In addition, I learned that the gap has significantly narrowed and that black women now make more than white women with the same education and experience.

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

There are countless more examples in Katie Pavlich’s book, Assault and Flattery.

 

 

WILL TRUMPCARE BE BETTER THAN OBAMACARE?

New health insurance is desperately needed since Obamacare is quickly falling apart and needs something much cheaper and better to replace it.  Its failure will hurt many people by eliminating government health insurance.  Since the U.S. is stuck with Obamacare for now, let’s take a look at it.

 Obamacare covered full-time employees in companies that employed 50 or more people.  Because Obamacare is very expensive, businesses were very wary of hiring additional full-time employees (FTE) and consequently reduced their numbers to under 50 FTE’s, as well as converting full-time positions to part-time, so as to keep FTE’s under 50.  Consequently, the number of jobs that the Federal government reported each month was baloney because: (a) most of those new jobs were part-time jobs, and (b) the major reason the unemployment rate lowered under Obama was because, after the unemployed ran out of benefits, they were no longer considered looking for work and therefore were taken off of the unemployment statistics that were calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Those statistics consequently then depicted a lowered (phony) unemployment rate; but had nothing to do with the creation of jobs.  An accurate portrayal of employment is the “Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate” which, in 2016,  was at it’s lowest level since 1978.

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

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

4. Though sold to the American public as saving the average American family about $2,500/year, it turned out to be far more expensive to everyone except those receiving government subsidies.  There are many, many people that paid double or triple their previous premiums.  Some paid as much as five times their former premiums.  Moreover, the Federal government spent billions in rolling out the Federal and State websites and in providing subsidies.  If it ever were fully implemented, some forecast that Obamacare would bankrupt the country.

Obamacare or The Affordable Care Act is rife with unintended consequences, some of the major ones I cited above. But there are many more (tax on medical equipment, doctor shortage, etc.).  All of the unintended consequences were completely predictable.  I don’t think that any revisions of The Affordable Care Act would be sufficient to fix it.  It was incompetently and sloppily prepared.  I believe that it must be replaced after (this time) being carefully thought out.  Moreover, it’s failing so rapidly that soon there won’t be government health insurance.  Whatever President Trump develops to replace Obamacare will be much cheaper, as well as a vast improvement, by allowing individuals to actually choose their own plan and doctors.  It will be ready by the 2020 Presidential election.  If President Trump is re-elected, the Senate remains majority Republican and the House returns to a Republican majority, Trumpcare will become a reality.  If not, Obamacare will remain and be unaffordable for everyone except those receiving full subsidies.

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE: PROS & CONS

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

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

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

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

The best way to raise everyone’s wages the most is to create a booming economy like they have in North Dakota where $15 is the starting wage in fast food restaurants because of the huge competition for employees that North Dakota’s great economy fostered.  President Trump has done precisely that with the result of a 3.4% increase of blue-collar worker wages.

ISRAEL AND PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (audio interview)

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

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

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

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

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

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

MR. Daniel Mariaschin-Israel Audio

Interview by Mike Russo

HOW WILL PRESIDENT TRUMP FUND THE BORDER WALL?

Illegal drugs pouring across the southern border, terrorists and criminals crossing with ease, children and young women smuggled over the border for sex trafficking, and hundreds of thousands illegally entering the U.S. every year.  Without a wall, Democrat Presidents would let immigrants in because most will eventually vote Democrat, legally or illegally.  President Trump, as president, wants to fix this problem.  He apparently can’t get it through the U.S. Senate because passage there requires 60 votes and there are not 60 Republican Senators.  How therefore can the President get a wall built?

Before I go any further I need to inform you of my bias on this subject: I had three friends in Denver, Colorado who were from Colombia, South America, two of whom were jailed for two months and then deported back to Colombia.  They had come to America seeking asylum for the mother of a son who was killed by terrorists, as well as asylum for her daughter and son-in-law to care for her.  While the elderly mother was granted political asylum, her daughter and son-in-law were not because the mother already had another daughter living in the U.S. that could take care of her.  ICE (US Immigration & Customs Enforcement) grabbed my two friends at their workplace and put them in a detention center for about two months before deporting them.  I visited them every night…it was a horrible experience for them.

I mentioned the above because you need to know my bias on the subject of immigration…it tugs at my heartstrings and makes me uneasy to talk about, but talk about it I must.  First, I can understand how someone in another country might want to come to America to seek a job and a better life for his or her family, even if done illegally, or for many other reasons.  On the other hand, I can understand why the U.S. would want to control the number of immigrants coming into the country and know exactly who they are, especially in this age of terrorism, drug smuggling, and human trafficking.  Illegal immigration over the U.S.’s southern border has become so very political that it’s almost impossible to discuss it without emotions overpowering reasoning, but we need to at least try.

Immigration is out of control through: 1)illegal border crossings, 2)U.S. Visa overstays, 3)family chain immigration, and, 4)Diversity Visa Lottery (Green Card Lottery) immigration.  It’s costing U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars and has facilitated narcotics throughout America, as well as significantly increasing violent crime in our cities and towns.  The backbone of President Trump’s plan to stop illegal immigration is the construction of a 30-ft. high border wall along about 500 miles of the 2,000-mile border the U.S. shares with Mexico. With a wall, it doesn’t matter if the next President wants open borders…the wall would funnel illegal aliens to enter legally only through legal ports of entry located all along our southern border.

There are a number of tangential issues surrounding the immigration issue, such as what do we do with the 20 million or more undocumented workers currently in the U.S., but these issues can all be resolved once the border wall is built and illegal immigration completely stopped.  Finally, although the human suffering surrounding this issue on all sides is tragic, I think the best solution for everyone is to build the wall and enforce immigration laws.  This currently is the most important issue facing the United States.  But how can President Trump build the border wall  if the partial government shutdown doesn’t work?  Here’s how…

If the Democrat House of Representatives does not approve of some funding for the border wall, he will declare and prove that the situation is a national security emergency and, as such, will have extraordinary authority and will use it to get the funds from the military’s budget and use them to build the wall.  Of course, if Senate leader Mitch McConnell changes Senate rules to allow Senate passage with 51 Senate votes instead of the current 60, that would help solve the problem.  Keep watching…

 

DNC CONSPIRACY: Dr. FORD’s RECOVERED MEMORIES vs. JUDGE KAVANAUGH’s LIFE

I watched both testimonies that were given in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and found both to appear credible.  How can both be right?  Here’s how, though you would never know it from the testimonies, cross-examinations, or pitiful biased media coverage:

Dr. Ford remembered the incident in 2012 during couples counseling, though she mentioned no one’s name back then.  It’s seems that she was under hypnosis when she recalled an incident, but if she were, the answer to her veracity is simple because memories uncovered during hypnosis are often confabulated, that is, the gaps in memories are (unconsciously) filled in with contemporary events.  I read a good book on memory many years ago, called Victims of Memory: Sex Abuse Accusations and Shattered Lives, by Mark Pendergrast.  If hypnosis was not used in recovering Dr. Ford’d memories, be aware that memory is imperfect and cannot be relied upon for accuracy, especially when a long time has elapsed since an event.  In this case the event allegedly took place 36 years ago.  In the Republican interviewer, Rachel Mitchel’s,  report on questioning Dr. Ford, she says that nothing in Dr. Ford’s testimony could be verified.

Dr. Ford  may not be a DNC pawn but the evidence so far appears to suggest that this vulnerable and fragile woman, who really wanted to avoid the limelight, was used like a throwaway by the Left with no regard for her feelings.  Judge Kavanaugh has a brilliant legal mind and an impeccable judicial record as a justice on the District of Columbia Federal Court of Appeals, writing 310 opinions over twelve years, and the Supreme Court has used many of his opinions in its rulings.  However, because of Dr. Ford’s testimony, Republican senator Jeff Flake requested a seventh FBI background check to focus on recent allegations.  The FBI background check came back with no corroboration of Dr. Ford’s or Debra Ramirez’ or Julie Swetnik’s allegations against judge Kavanaugh.

Democrat leadership criticized the background check because Ford and Kavanaugh were not interviewed as part of the check.  They were not interviewed because the FBI already had their sworn testimony, under oath, that the both had given at their hearings to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The full Senate voted on Judge Kavanaugh’s  nomination Saturday October 6.  Republican Maine Senator Susan Collins gave an outstanding speech the previous day examining in detail every aspect of the allegations and concluding that it was appropriate to vote “yes” on Kavanaugh.  Judge Kavanaugh was confirmed by a 50 -48 vote, sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts, and should make an outstanding Supreme Court justice.

West Virginia Senator, Joe Manchin was the only Democrat to vote for Kavanaugh; Alaska Senator, Lisa Murkowski, was the only Republican to vote against him.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

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.

 

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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