Things You Should Think About and Write Down

Not sure if people prefer reading one post about one topic, but lots of times I prefer to state  what I am thinking on multiple topics.

1. Lets start with Michelle Bachman; she is actually saying anyone who is Muslim is suspect of being a terrorist. Yes a few in the GOP have condemned her statement, most notably John McCain. Hats off to him for having the guts to cross the ever angry tea party. If you think about Bachman’s statement it is an unacceptable showing of bigotry and lack of intelligence. Freedom of speech is a good thing, yes. But, this woman should be taken off any intelligence committee and condemned by Congress for her blatant bigotry. Right after 9/11 President George W.Bush made a point of reaching out to Muslim communities and telling the American people Muslims are not to blame for this. He was right.

2. The church in Mississippi that wouldn’t allow 2 black people to marry each other because it might ‘offend’ other people in the church community. Why in this day and age is this type of behavior tolerated? 2 people should always be free to marry no matter where, when or whatever the circumstances are. Marriage Equality is important to society, we should be reaching out to each other, offering a helping hand. Anyone offended by people getting married needs an education in modern society.

3. An overwhelming number of Dems approve of same sex marriage, 65%. This is an all time high. This is excellent news since it marks history moving forward. The haters and the people who want to condemn same sex marriage are in the minority. And with people under 30 this is a non issue. This is good news for everyone.

4. This is disturbing to me. Whomever wins the presidential election might not matter. Things might be exactly the same, the bitter polarized electorate might continue to be in a stalemate. This is a sad and pathetic fact. Many things need to be done in this country but they can only be done with bi partisan compromises. America is on the verge now; we need to come together to make the country stronger. This cant happen with petty bickering. There are too many people out of work, too much fear of being laid off, too much negativity for us to prosper. We need strong leadership today, not after the election. This should come from President Obama. Fix things now!

5. I fear we are forgetting about the unemployed. They are hardly if ever mentioned in the news media. The impact on lives is devastating. Many people just cant find jobs, they arent out there. There are an estimated 25 million Americans that are unemployed or under employed, there are over 7 million Americans that have been out of the workforce for over a year. The consequences of this will be felt for generations to come. From the recent college grad to the 45+ laid off people looking for work. I dont see enough being done for this group of people. I dont see either presidential candidate offering any solutions, any plans, nothing.

No one is talking about America in 2025, no one is looking past the next election or news cycle. This alone show America in decline. Lets stop the petty daily news cycle agenda and build a USA that we are all proud of.

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Romney’s Positions Unacceptable – Start w/Iran

I guess its ironic to talk about Romney’s position on issues since he changes his views more than any politician in modern history. His changed views arent from evolution, they are calculated to make him win over his audience. How the American people can forgot all the flip flops is bothersome, since why would you put your faith in a man that changes his mind/views/policies with the wind?

Lets start with Iran. The GOP would have you believe that the Iranian nuclear problem started when Obama was inaugurated. This situation has been going on for decades. The Bush administration didnt have any better luck than Obama is having. The GOP criticizes Obama being silent in 2009 when the Green Revolution was demonstrating in the streets of Tehran. I heard his advisors at the time say America was purposefully staying out of this, otherwise the Iranian regime would blame the demonstrations on the Americans and convince their population that fighting for their rights is pointless. So, a strategic decision on Obama’s part is twisted into his being weak. The news today is that Romney would back Israel’s right to strike Iran. A few things come to mind. First, its unheard of for anyone to contradict the President of the United States while off of American soil. This alone is an act of incompetence and buffoonery. Secondly and more importantly: what would striking Iran accomplish? Most experts agree that it would set their nuclear ambitions back a year, maybe 2. Thats the plus side. The downside is that it could do absolutely nothing, its not like their nuclear facilities are clearly marked with a big X on them. Also, a strike on Iran by Israel and backed by the U.S. will bring the Iranian population together and back their leaders. This is what happens in times of war, citizens back their leaders. This would be catastrophic since most of the Iranian public does not like their ruling regime and they are the most westernized culture in the Middle East. If we work out the Iranian situation correctly they could be one of our best allies. Its the leaders of Iran that are the problem, not the citizens.

But, of course, Mitt Romney cares nothing about any of these inconvenient facts. He wants to look tough, he wants to be the GOP Hawk that the neocons love. Any kind of war with Iran would be a disaster, worse than Iraq and Afghanistan. I am not saying Iran should be able to strike Israel and that we shouldnt do everything possible to stop this from happening; as Obama has publicly declared he will do. What we dont need is a posturing buffoon butting in when serious tense negotiations are going on. He should have more respect for his country and the President.

Romney on taxes: ‘Lower them for everyone?’ We tried lowering taxes for all income levels during the 8 years of the Bush administration, we were told this would increase jobs, productivity and be good for all. Instead there were no net new jobs created in the 8 years he was in office. We have tried this and it doesnt work; it was one of the main reasons for the financial meltdown we are still recovering from.

Romney on healthcare: Repeal ACA and no solutions, suggestions, on what to replace it with. Let everyone fend for themselves.

Romney on Social Issues: He wants to overturn Roe vs Wade and add an amendment to the constitution saying marriage is between a man and a woman, only. This would be the first time in American history that the constitution would be amended to take away peoples rights. The last thing we need as a country is to move the clock back 20 years. Especially when public opinion on Marriage Equality is over 50%. Romney on the wrong side of history. Btw, what would he want next, segregated lunch counters again?

Romney is a horrible candidate with just about nothing to offer. His main calling card is ‘I am not Obama’ well, that might be true. Romney would be a disaster for this country. His Olympics gaffe alone should tell you he’s not ready for primetime.

The Presidents Club

I just finished reading one of the most interesting books I have read in years, its called The Presidents Club written by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, I am sure its available everywhere, and I was able to read it on my iPad which is always a plus for me. The book went through many examples of relationships between sitting presidents and past presidents. So much of that info was extremely interesting to me, because its something the public doesn’t know about. One of the main theme, if not the main theme itself, is that each president knows the office is more important than the individual. In other words, keeping the position of the President of the United States of America as the most respected and powerful position in the world makes the members of this group put aside their differences in ways that help the current president to succeed. They almost never criticize a sitting president, and they are always there to help, give advice, what ever it takes for the current occupant of the Oval Office to succeed.

When reading this book I couldn’t help but think what a great thing this is and also why don’t the House and Congress do the same? Why isn’t success for people in office everyones top priority? I know thats fantasyland now, but there is so much to learn from this book. Most of all loyalty, wanting whats best for the office of the President and whats best for the American people.

There were so many different examples of the behind the scenes help presidents received from their predecessors. One example is how President Kennedy reached out to former President Eisenhower about the Cuban Missile Crisis; Ike and Kennedy never liked each other and never had a good relationship. But in time of need Kennedy reached out to Ike, a former General who brought victory in WW2, for his advice and what he thought of Kennedy’s plans. In todays climate this seems impossible to even fathom, but it did happen. The book also goes into great detail about Lyndon Johnson, the Vietnam War, Nixon and the 1968 election.

There are so many interesting examples its hard to narrow down to just a few for this posting. One of the ones that struck me most was Nixon; first in that he had been advising Reagan since the early 1960’s before either man became president. Just before the 1968 presidential election LBJ had worked out a peace deal with the major players in the Vietnam war; turns out Nixon had a mole that was able to sabotage the peace deal, thus guaranteeing Nixon would become president rather than Hubert Humphrey. This was a treasonous act on Nixon’s part and he was forever afraid of LBJ for knowing the truth. LBJ did not publicly accuse Nixon of this, however.

What was also interesting to me about Nixon is the substantially influential role he had behind the scenes until the time of his death. After leaving office in disgrace Nixon did try to untarnish his image, but what he mostly did was advice Reagan, Bush and Clinton. Nixon would send 10 page single spaced memos about his observations and recommendations. Many of these dealing directly with the Cold War; he advised Reagan on many fronts with this. Turns out Nixon thought Ronnie was too soft on the ‘Commies’  But he picked right up with H.W. to advise him and well as Bill Clinton. After Nixon’s death Clinton publicly said losing Nixon was as hard as losing his mother had been. Wouldn’t it be fascinating if Richard Nixon was responsible for most of the policy of the government for the last half/quarter of the 20th century? And no one ever knew it?

There are many other interesting parts of the book; how Ford and Carter broke through their bitter rivalry and dislike of each other to become the best of friends for the rest of their lives; how Clinton called Ford for advice during the Lewinsky episode; and perhaps most famously another bitter rivalry was ended when H.W. and Bubba became very close.

Take away: Every member of Congress should read this book and vow to put their office and whats best for their country as their top priority.

Interviewers: Audacity and Rudeness

Has anyone who has been unemployed gone on an interview lately? Its time I added my voice to this process. Typically when I send out my resume I get a decent amount of responses, usually from HR departments for screening. Since I work in sales the phone interviews with HR are pretty pointless, as they are unable to answer anything to do with selling strategies employed by the hiring company; how they judge success, other than ‘meeting your goal.’ As I have mentioned in other posts most hiring companies/recruiters/hiring managers tend to be very short sighted in that they are looking for an immediate replacement for who has left. This puts me at a disadvantage since I want to switch Industries that I sell to.  Anyway, so that is hurdle one for me but many times I pass that hurdle because of my vast experience and have an in person interview with either the recruiter or the person I would actually be working for. I want to share a recent story and encourage others to do the same.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a company and went through the phone interview/screening and then was contacted by the person who I would be working for. He was coming into NYC for a few days and was interviewing candidates. First he asked me via email what time what convenient, so I told him something like Monday – Thursday 10 – 3 (trying to be flexible but not look like I have too much time on my hands). He wrote back, and said how about Tuesday at 4:30. I said sure, ‘sounds great’ let me know where you want to meet. He had a vague answer of ‘somewhere in Grand Central Terminal’ So I picked a place, asked if that would be alright with him, he said yes so we had our time/place nailed down. I got there really early because I wanted to check out the Apple store there; then went to the bar I was to meet him in, probably about 20 mins early. For those of you non-New Yorkers Grand Central is not air conditioned so it can get warm on a hot day in the summer. As I waited I casually checked my iPhone, sent a few texts. I had no idea if this man was planning on eating an early dinner or drinks or what. I ordered water, glanced around to see if anyone was coming. I had seen his pic on LinkedIn so I had an idea what he looked like.

Then right at 4:30 a man sitting directly  across the bar from me waved and called out my name. I went over, introduced myself. He told me I should get my water and come sit next to him. He proceeded to tell me how he was looking for a senior sales director who was comfortable working with SVPs, EVPs, CEOs, VPs etc, someone who knew what he was doing, could manage and grow existing business and hit the ground running. This describes me to a T; its exactly what I have done for many years. After talking about that for a few minutes, and my asking my researched questions; he started talking about the people who work for him. He started by saying one of his employees asked him what ‘prospecting’ meant, with a look of disgust he said he doesn’t even have time for questions like that. The he said while in NYC he asked the current sales staff to set up senior level meetings for him to go on. Then he proceeded to tell me that they had only made 3 appointments all week, and what a disgrace that was. Then he learned one of the meetings was with someone who was still in college. After talking a bit more, or I should say listening; I asked what happens next. He told me he was meeting a few other candidates and was going to make a decision soon, narrowing it down to 2 people and to keep in touch. As I left I was thinking I could easily do this job, then I realized he didn’t really ask much about me, my strategy, my successes; he really just complained the whole time. Then I realized, and this is small but important, he didn’t offer me anything to drink, while he drank a second glass of wine. Still I was enthusiastic about the job and the product; the next morning I sent a thank you email tying up how exciting the job sounded,  what we had talked about and how my talents could be of great use to them and how I was looking forward to our next conversation.

Then nothing. No response. No form email from him or HR. Looking back its probably for the best since if I worked for him I am sure he would have been complaining about me to someone at some point. But, who do these people think they are? The audacity, the rudeness, the unprofessionalism. Yes, companies do have the upper hand now, but this kind of behavior shouldn’t be tolerated and is unacceptable.

And people like Newt Gingrich think unemployment insurance takes away your motivation to get a job.

Oh Mitt, You Could Have Had It All

As we all know the economy is lousy, unemployment is at unprecedented levels, long term unemployment is at a crisis point. President Obama has done what we think are good things, but its hard to prove a negative. The ‘it would have been worse’ argument is one that people aren’t buying. This is the third spring in a row where the economy started out strong but has fizzled. Yes there were lots of reasons for this, GOP blocking all bill passing legislation, the World’s economy, and of course the debt ceiling fiasco. We all like President Obama, we have a stand offish view of Mitt Romney as being robotic, stiff, uncomfortable in his own skin, flip flopping on too many issues to count, kissing up to whatever audience he is in front of at the time. Obama is slamming Romney with negative ads focused on Bain’s outsourcing,  how long he was actually at Bain and his investments overseas and what that might mean politically.

This has been such a missed opportunity for Mitt Romney; he should have come out months ago, being himself. He should state loudly and proudly his accomplishments at Bain, he should speak directly to the outsourcing issue. Having been in the thick of things he could have explained to the American public why companies outsource, what kind of tax advantage they get. How his company made more profits from outsourcing. The gist of his argument, or platform, should be based on his tremendous success and how to make the US more competitive in the worlds marketplace. Who better than the owner, CEO of a hugely profitable company to speak to who companies outsource and how the US can be more competitive. He should embrace his decisions to make his company as much profit as possible, while proposing to change taxes, regulations, whatever it is that makes outsourcing more advantageous than having jobs in America. Since he was in the trenches he should have many examples of what we need to do as a country to have more jobs not outsourced. He would know extremely well what measures should be taken to make the United States a more appealing and lucrative place for companies to do business in. Instead of running and hiding, he should proudly talk about his accomplishments, his experience and how that outsourcing experience in particular could be to America’s interests. He outsourced, he could change things so other companies won’t do the same. Huge missed opportunity for Mitt!

His investments, bank accounts, tax returns can be a huge asset for Mr. Romney. He should have released all this information months ago and said, you know, what I am doing is completely legal and I am saving millions in taxes, let me change that.  From his experience with taxes and off shore accounts he could speak directly to what multi millionaires and billionaires do, and close those loop holes. He should lay it all out on the table for us, show us where all of his bank accounts are, how much he saved; and because of his knowledge he can close those loop holes so the ultra rich don’t get special tax deductions. I am assuming everything he did was legal, so what better example to announce to the American people about how he would change things so people like him couldn’t take advantage of the legal tax shelters that they have. Just like with outsourcing, Mitt has lived through how to work the tax system; and who better to fix the tax system than someone who knows it so well he takes every advantage of it. He should have turned his weaknesses into leadership that could put us all on a better path.

To me, Mitt has proved himself to be nothing more than a man who will say or do anything to become POTUS. Instead if he took his experience and said I know how people (legally) work the system and I know why companies outsource, and I am here to change all that he could have a winning argument. Mitt, why didn’t you call me personally 6 weeks ago? Why are you talking about more tax cuts when the Bush tax cuts produced no net jobs and was a large part of the financial meltdown. Mitt, you will lose this election if you don’t take bold action; in fact you sound use this post as an outline or contact me for more direction.

As I have said many times before on this blog, I am not into labels of political persuasion I want whats best for me, my family and the Country. Mitt you need some help.

USA Lacks Future Vision *** Instead Plays Small Ball

To me our Country hasn’t shown any vision for the future in my lifetime. In the early 60s President Kennedy set a goal to have the US put a man on the moon and bring him back safely by the end of the decade. We had something to aspire to, something to be proud of. The Government spent a lot of money for this program, but countless industries were created directly or indirectly from this venture. The Internet being one of them!! Imagine a world without the Internet, the countless jobs it has created. Where is the Leadership in this Country. Why isn’t someone asking something of the American public? Why don’t be have a decade long goal of finding renewable energy? Right after 9/11 would have been the perfect time for President Bush to call for a mandate to stop importing oil from the Middle East. As we know, the terrorists used our money to attack us. Our money pays for the Iranian regime. We might not buy their oil, but the oil we do buy is leaves other nations buying oil from Iran. We should have had a war tax for the Afghan and Iraq wars so each American would play a part and price for the wars instead of just the few in the military.

The 1970’s 80’s 90’s 00’s and the Presidents who led the Country did nothing to see a bigger picture, have a vision. Those decades were about ‘whats in it for me’ and ‘how much can I get’

Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You…  We as a Nation need a bold leader, looking to the future and yes, asking our help. Whats going on now in Washington, on both sides, is unacceptable

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Instead of bold ideas for the future we have the recent outrage over the uniforms for the Olympics being made in China for American athletes brings up lots of issues. First off, this is not the firs time Ralph Lauren has made uniforms for the Olympics made in China so the outrage now seems a bit hollow. In fact the whole Made in China controversy, people wanting things made in America, is problematic at best. For years now stores like Wal Mart have thrived on low price goods made in China, in fact a lot of our economy is based on inexpensive things we buy because of where they are made. Let me correct that, many people have purchased many things because the price of the product was cheaper since it was made in China. All of the iPhones, iPads and all other Apple products are made in China, in sweat shops. We all know that but still keep buying them. Sure Apple could start making things in the US, but who would pay double for their iPhone or other tech toys?  Very few is my guess. So, having lowered priced goods in stores like Wal Mart have made lots of things economically affordable to people it might not otherwise be. But at the same time other people are losing their jobs.

We hear its part of globalization and in the end its better for everyone involved. Whether thats true or not is yet to be seen, but we are beyond the turning point. It would be nice if things could be made in the US at a competitive price. That brings up another issue, how do you know whats made in America and whats not? If you buy a Cadillac or Chevy, some of those are made in Canada; we don’t know where all of the parts of the car are coming from. But if you buy a Honda or Toyota chances are it was made in the US. Or does it matter more who owns the company and where the profits go? Or is it all about jobs?