Category Archives: Politics

Finding Obama

I was enjoying my evening at home when one of the Get Out the Vote people came by. He was obviously a democrat. A young college kid full of ideals that the party he was working for doesn’t actually support.

So I let him give his speech and inform him that I am registered and always have been and that I always vote, even in off years when we have no major races but still have issues to vote on. He then asks me if I am a democrat, to which I tell him, “I do not belong or support the two major parties.” That line usually works at stopping the telemarketers.

Then this kid asks me “if I have found Obama yet.” Found Obama? He said “have you heard his message and his calling for all Americans?” Ok, at this point, the kid just sounded like some brainwashed cult member and frankly I find it creepy. Not because of what he said, but because this was the fourth one who was saying very similar things in a very similar way.

Where I live is not a battle ground state so we don’t get a lot of political traffic. But I really do wonder what kind of Kool Aid they are giving people to go around acting like they do about Obama, a community organizer with no record to speak of, other than Oprah saying she likes him.

I decided not to have fun at this kid’s expense by grilling him about his beliefs on Obama, after all, anyone who would brave the mosquitoes probably doesn’t deserve the kind of question I’m famous for. But it does raise the question, is the Obama campaign about glitz and nice sounding phrases that inspire? Because when I took the time to look into this guy’s very thin record, I was reminded of what his friend of 20 years, Rev, Wright, said about Obama, that “Obama is just another politician.” And if you look at his record, I mean really look, you will see, Rev Wright may have said some things people didn’t like, but he was correct about his take on Obama.

If this is the best the Democrats can do for a candidate, just another politician?

Remember everyone, these two parties told us free trade would give us more choices as consumers. I suggest you take that same philosophy and adopt it to who you vote for. There are more parties than the major two, take a little time and find them and vote for them. Voting for these two major parties is like going back to the same bad restaurant that always screws up your order, jacks up the prices and never has anything good to eat. Time to try the lunch special else where.

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Russian President Medvedev on Economics

The new Russian president is blaming the US for the financial melt down we are experiencing. I am not surprised by his rhetoric, after all, the Russians love claiming how bad the US is and how they have a great system (like the part about not allowing opposition voices). Although the Russian president may think he is being smart in his attacks, he is showing us a great misunderstanding of just how the markets are suppose to be working and frankly, shows us why we should not bother investing in Russia.

Here’s what he said “Failure by the biggest financial firms in the world to adequately take risk into account, coupled with the aggressive financial policies of the biggest economy in the world, have led not only to corporate losses.”

Ok, so the biggest firms in the world, yes that’s right, the world, meaning not US, so how is it the US that is to blame when these companies are allowed to do their business globally, in such places as Russia? Fact is, financial firms blew off the US a long time ago, they are “global.” Meaning, they go where the money is with no regard for national interests. The one thing I will say is that the US Fed is acting like it is in control when it is not, we should have let Bear Sterns fail, that’s called capitalism, what we are seeing is corporate welfare which I do not agree with. At the same time, we have an economy based on 70% consumer spending and we let our dollar get weak, which is about as dumb a move as you can make. But that’s impacting the domestic US market, not so much globally.

Here’s another gem from Medvedev “”No matter how big the American market and no matter how strong the American financial system, they are incapable of substituting for global commodity and financial markets.” I’d like to know what this guy is on, because even my basic finance 101 class back in high school, we learned this fact. The US is one market and one market only. Granted, I know quite a few Wall Streeters who don’t always remember this, but I don’t believe this is endemic.

So we know the new president of Russia really doesn’t have a grasp of economics, lets see what else he says. “Russia is now a global player and understands its role in supporting the global community.” I wonder if he means the part about over priced oil and causing the developing world to remain in poverty as a result while Russia becomes flush with cash at the same time. How is that supporting the global community by causing people to fall further into poverty?

Or is Russia helping us by showing us the Neo-Stalinism with their anti opposition practices and limits on investment by foreign companies in Russia? How is that being a global player? Being a global player means competing on equal terms, we invest in your country and you can invest in ours, if we can’t invest in your country meaning buying entire companies without restrictions, then you are not a global player, just a wannabe player.

So, I guess this is the new face of Russia, flush with cash and ego-economics. Yawn, forget the Russian market, with guys like this in charge they will nationalize your assets at a whim. You are better off investing in Canada, at least they play fair and they have oil too.

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Filed under Censorship, Economics, Globalization, Politics, Trade

American Bitter

So it has been a while since I posted.  I know, I’ve been sick with this nasty cold and before that working for the man 10 plus hour days.  One of the things that caught my attention was Obama’s comment about American’s being bitter.  Well hell ya!  Bitter is just getting warmed up, he and everyone in Washington should be thanking God that’s all we are is bitter otherwise we would have a repeat of the revolution and lets face it, the guns do more damage these days and the tea would be from China.

 

I think this picture does a great job of showing why Americans are feeling bitter.  This is not a country of the people for the people.  It is a country for the corporate and Wall Street elite.  While homeowners go under, Wall Street gets bail outs.  We are told that home owners were not responsible when purchasing new homes at high prices.  Yeah, I will agree with that.  But so were the banks who gave out the loans that are now getting bail outs.  Why are they allowed to benefit from their stupidity while the home owner is made to suffer? 

 

Banks get lower rates but that doesn’t get passed down to consumers.  Our dollar is falling to make good cheaper to export, yet of course that means oil goes up, gold goes up and other basics go up.  So a few companies benefit while we all suffer. 

 

We are consuming less oil as a nation, in fact we haven’t increased our oil consumption in the past 5 years yet oil prices have doubled.  We are told to use less, we are!  We are told to use more fuel efficient cars, hey, why don’t you make more than 1!  If it isn’t 50 miles a gallon then it doesn’t pass the fuel efficient test in my book. 

 

Food prices are up, not because we are eating more but because we allow speculators to run rampant on the commodities market but no one wants to stop it because how else will the hedge fund managers make any money, so the rest of us get to pay $5 a gallon for milk.

 

Bitter, yeah, most people have a right to be, our leadership (which by the way I put Obama on that list since he is in the Senate) have failed we the people and we the people have a right to bitter and cling to anything we want that actually is working.  Got a problem with that Obama, then you should not be president.

 

 

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Filed under Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Energy, Government, Life, Politics

Hiring the Next President of the United States

The US elections are upon with the primaries well underway.  I don’t normally indulge in politics but there was an aspect to the election that did catch my attention because of questionable the practices are, yet it is done and nobody seems to care.  The elections are essentially one big job interview, and anyone in the US who does any hiring knows you can not take into account, gender, race or religion in the hiring process, yet these seem to be the main themes of the election.

 

Hiring in the US has come a long way in the last few decades; you need to focus on the skills and experience of the candidates and focus solely on those skills and experiences, for the most part.  Personality fit does come in to play for some job as well as communication skills.  Now lets say I’m looking to hire a new CEO of a company, I can’t focus on gender as the Clinton supporter and campaign are doing, that would be discrimination and bias and I would get sued and rightfully so because gender plays no role in a person’s ability to be CEO.  I can’t focus on race either, which would rule out Obama as many of his supporters and some in his campaign like to play the race issue.  Again, race has no bearing on performance.  Then there is religion such as Huckabee and Romney are play, I just heard many voters in NV voted for Romney because they are Mormon and so is he.  Again, that would not work in a corporate setting, you can’t hire based on religion or lack of.

 

The interesting aspect is, one of these candidates has the potential to eventually win the job of president of the US.  How can we listen to them or even take them serious when they talk about how companies should not take such issues into account when hiring, when they themselves benefited greatly from using such issues to get the job. 

 

I’m all for taking gender, race and religion out of the decision process, as in business, to focus on such issues is to take away from where your real focus should be, that is on the ability of the person to perform the job at hand.  The reason’s why we focus on these issues are many, in an over simplified way, I would place it in three camps, the parties, the press and the people. 

 

The parties for the most part are run by consultants that look at polls and like to focus on flash not substance.  The press is horrible for the most part, they don’t report news anymore so why would they focus on the substance issues like what a candidate’s economic plan is and does it make any real sense according to economists?  Or what is their experience, I hear Hillary say she has 35 years of experience, of what I have no clue, she’s only be in office 8 years, being married to a politician doesn’t count in my book, maybe in hers but not mine.  If that’s the case than every spouse of a fortune 500 CEO can claim they can run those companies too, anyone want to, some how that argument never seems to work in the corporate world so why in politics?  If we really were talking about experience, most of the candidates who have already dropped out would still be in the race.

 

I don’t expect these first two groups to do any changing but the people, don’t let me down guys, think and vote real issues.  I run into women saying they will vote for Hilary because she’s a woman, what’s the difference between that and KKK member saying they will vote for the Anglo protestant guy?  You know what, there isn’t any, please think about that before voting.   I know some who say “girl power” but what’s the difference from someone saying some other form of bigotry, we are hiring a president lets keep such things out of the process.  Same with anyone else who uses these issues of gender, race or religion as their primary reason for voting for someone.  Substance is what is important in such a job, if you don’t demand substance, you can’t complain when you get none from the eventual winner.

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Filed under Business, Life, Politics

Political Correctness Equals Poor Performance

I’ve never been accused of being politically correct, so I’m sure this will offend all the PCer’s out there who love the idea.  For all my working life, I have been told to be politically correct and sometimes I was lucky to find work situations where I could just be myself.  The fun thing is, in those situations, I out performed the politically correct groups, hands down.  This really doesn’t come as any surprise to me, because political correctness really is a self imposed limiting influence on performance.

 

Political correctness has its roots in Stalin’s communist era.  He wasn’t a big fan of business, or the fundamentals of capitalism.  So it is rather curious why we today choose to self impose this outdated idea upon us on such a wide scale.  It is actually quite funny when you think about the logic behind it, yet on another level, really disturbing. 

 

The root of political correctness is that you don’t want to offend anyone.  Well I can honestly tell you that I have never offended a single person in my entire life.  No I’m serious, not one person on this Earth has ever been offended by me.  Now there are a lot of people walking around who will claim I have offended them, yet I assure you, I never have.  And on the opposite side, no one has ever offended me, despite my many accusations that they did, at the time.  No one really can offend you, unless you let them. 

 

Where does an offense come from?  Does the speaker create it?  No, if I call someone an illegal, they may feel offended, yet did I really offend them?  No, I did not impose on them how to react to that word, I did not impose on them how to define that word, I did not impose on them the emotions they tied to that word.  So I can’t really offend anyone because I am not the decider of the offense.  We offend ourselves; the true root of an offense is in the listener, not the speaker.  It is childish and irresponsible of us to blame someone else for our own reaction to something, yet we all do it.  This very backwards logic of being offended is what drives political correctness.  Yet truly the root of it is flawed and as a result, we censor our words and thoughts and this is truly what hurts business and people. 

 

I’m always saying, “people drive the numbers,” and they do and to get them to drive the numbers in a positive direction, it helps to have an environment where people can feel ok to express themselves without fear of some backlash for saying what they really think.  It is in the listener to be mature enough to take a time out and examine what belief is driving them to feel offended, this helps a lot more than trying to get people to censor themselves.  Why do we punish someone for saying something our 3rd grade teacher told us was offensive, that teacher is probably retired in Florida and doesn’t even remember what he or she said, so why do people hold other accountable for that believe of an offense decades later?  Who really is offending whom in this situation?  It would be a lot more just and humane to really examine what in your past triggered your feeling of offense, often it has nothing to do with the speaker. But it is a lot harder to do that and frankly, some people in power don’t want you speaking up, some organizations don’t want you to say what you really think of their new product or project and use political correctness to squash dialogue which then reduces productivity as well.  But some organizations do it because they were told that being politically correct was the “compassionate” way to lead.

 

I honestly don’t see the compassion in censoring people from expressing who they are, nor is it compassionate to allow people to act on emotions of hurt and lash out at others instead of telling them they should deal with the root issues, it’s probably better on their health to be frank and tell them they shouldn’t be so offended by what people say, think how many times you’ve seen someone get tensed up and worked up over something someone said, can’t be good for the nerves. 

 

In teams where we let people be who they are and say what they want, things got done and issues were dealt with fast and more accurately than teams that were more concerned with what they said and how.  You take the politics out and people just get real and you realize how much of all that stuff really doesn’t matter when you take it out of the equation.  Those who can’t handle it will move on, those who can will stay and thrive and that’s what happens.  Things get done and they get done faster, which is the whole idea of business, you make more money that way!

 

At the end of the day, political correctness is a flawed idea whose time should be relegated to the history books.  If you feel someone has offended you, they haven’t.  Sure, there are a lot of people who say things with the intent to offend, but really, they can’t hurt you unless you give them that option.  So if you don’t give them the option and own your thoughts and emotions, nobody can truly harm you in that fashion. 

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Filed under Business, Hiring and Management, Leadership, Life, Politics

A Weak Dollar is just Dumb

We currently are experiencing a very weak dollar, for many this is news, but really a weak dollar isn’t news, it’s been around for 30 years and the reasoning behind a weak dollar are as out dated as writing on clay tablets.  A strong dollar is what is needed, as strong a dollar as is possible and here’s why.

 

Back in the 70’s, when we actually had a manufacturing base in the US, people realized that a strong dollar made it hard for people in developing nations or what was called the third world back then, found it hard to buy US goods because their currency was so weak.  So instead of trying to improve the quality of life and value of the currency for these other people, the then new idea of globalization and free trade, came around and said “lets have a weak dollar so our stuff is cheap overseas.”  People went along with that idea, probably not realizing what a bad idea it was.

 

So since the mid 70’s the dollar has been weakened intentionally.  So when I hear conspiracy theories about the intentional weakening of the dollar by Bush, I kind of shake my head.  Yeah he is weakening it, but not like he is the only one who was doing it, so was Clinton and all the others before since 1975.  Now this doesn’t excuse anyone from knowing the facts on the issue.  The idea back then was to make our products competitive, back when manufacturing was king of the economy.  Fast forward to the present, manufacturing is not king, the consumer is.

 

So all those manufacturers who wanted to sell cheap stuff to people in the developing world, decided to go produce their goods there, leaving we the consumers as the king of the US economy.  Now the logic of that is another debate, which I am not discussing here so please refrain from debating this point.  70% of the economy is driven by consumer spending, about 10-15% by manufacturing, so we have a weak dollar to help 10% at the expense of 70%.  A strong dollar means everything is cheaper, gas, food, cheap junk from China at Wal Mart, etc…  A weak dollar means all those things cost more.  You spend more money to buy the same donut that was 63 cents last year, now is 67 cents, same donut, it doesn’t taste any better!  So as you spend more on the same thing you can’t spend enough on all the things you want and the consumer engine slows down and so does the economy.

 

It is unfortunate that the free traders fail to realize that their policies are failing.  First off, if they were so concerned about people in other countries being able to buy their products, they should have focused on quality of life, not price.  So the theory was flawed from the start.  Second, why are we the consumers paying the price for all this?  If you want to have a strong dollar and as a consumer, you do!  Fight to impose taxes on companies that outsource and are just branding companies trying to sell you junk that is probably tainted with lead anyway.  But first you need to ensure we vote in people who understand a weak dollar is just dumb and will fight to have the strongest dollar possible.  When the corporations complain about it, who cares, they are 10% and they will leave and have left us to produce overseas.  In fact it should be a law that a company can not lobby unless 70% of its manufacturing is based in the US.  That would solve a lot.

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Filed under Business, Consumer Activism, Consumerism, Globalization, International Trade, Politics, The World

Not Made in China

A lot of people who are shopping for school clothing and supplies, are telling me how tired they are of everything being made in China.  They are just worried, are they sending their kids off the school with something that could harm them?  Well now you can buy your kids, or yourself, a shirt that is Not Made in China and makes a statement at the same time.  I love this idea! 

 Buy a shirt and make a statement! 

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Filed under Branding, Business, China, Consumerism, Globalization, International Trade, Life, Marketing, Politics, Trade