Posts Tagged ‘Romney’

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MONDAY MORNING POTPOURRI

October 29, 2012

THE STORM: It’s hard to wrap my mind around what is happening on the East Coast….Praying more people than not have heeded the warnings and have taken shelter away from the water….tonight continues to be forecast as VERY BAD when it actually comes ashore.

YES to Excelsior MN Fire Chief Scott Gerber( along with several Hennepin Cty, MN-based federal employees and private companies from MN) who is back in Boston to help them with Hurricane Sandy – just like he did with IRENE.

Watch the Supreme Court closely today….discrimination against blacks, American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaska natives and Hispanics is at stake.

YES to Target for bringing James Dyson and his message to Target’s internal product designers and engineers….”I encourage wrong thinking which is the unconventional or obtuse way of doing things…if you don’t take risks you slowly wither because things change and you don’t keep up.”

Good message; first, I am growing weary of same product – just new color – standard of Target in recent times; and second, it’s a good message to ANY designer in any industry – including ours….when an event picture can be quickly identifed as YOUR WORK, step back, rethink, and figure out how to push the envelope!

OPEN LETTER from MN Business and Non-Profit leaders (www.MNUnited.org) in STRIB Business Section today is pretty impressive…the Message AND the Signatures both. Think carefully about the negative impact to our state if this petty proposed amendment is passed. VOTE NO!

Oh dear…little did I know Ecolab provides chemicals used in fracking! We need to learn more about this in view of October 10 US Environmental Protection Agency report that water tests near the natural gas drilling site in Wyoming establish first link between hydraulic fracturing and tainted water!…Meanwhile, industry-funded studies continue to say fracking poses no threat to groundwater or air quality. This descrepency needs to be addressed.

Just read that racial attitudes have not improved….a slight majority of Americans express prejudice towards blacks as well as Hispanics. Politically the split is pretty telling: 79% Republicans and 32% Democrats. As our national demographics continue to move towards whites becoming the minority population, what in the world will these people do?

Which reminds me of a report over weekend regarding white parents who are still focusing on keeping children in all white schools at all cost. Yes, I understand the thought that the formal education is better – but is it really and why? More important, as whites become the minority, we will begin to realize these well-meaning parents are doing their children a disservice? I would think as minority ratios in our population rise, it would be better to have relationships with non-whites as well of those that look, act, and think just like us.

Buried in the news by the storm is the fact that of course, the  holiday TRUCE in Syria did not hold; and WORSE, with Iraq as a major influencer, it is moving towards a multi-national religious war between Sunnis and Shiites.

The STEPPING UP Strib article again praises China as an export opportunity. Today I read that Minnesota exports to China have increased 89% in last three years, as China became our second LARGEST export partner, behind Canada. That is probably a good thing – contributing to our lower unemployment and better economic situation than many other states, but….I was glad to see the acknowledgement of concerns re sustainability of emerging Chinese middle class and potential issues that could economically impact us if not watched carefully.

Quick thought:  WHO looks more presidential…Obama overseeing the storm preparations and taking care of American citizens…or Romney crazy on the campaign trail…looking for a personal advantage created by the storm.  I’m thinking I have seen this attitude before – in the mid 2000’s maybe?

Finally, I still have not made it to the RED DOT outside Olson’s new home at the old Ford Plant. Hve you? The idea of the red decor seen through the windows on the upper floors spelling out OLSON is awesome – just blows my mind how anyone first of all–thought of that, and second, figured out how to make it a reality!

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CRISIS IN MIDEAST

September 14, 2012

What a dilemma we in America are facing as today, as one of our basic founding principles has caused death and disaster.  Freedom of Speech for a religious cause –Media for Christ – has fueled an international crisis for the United States, loss of lives, and interruption of some painstakingly slow diplomacy across the powder keg of the world-northern Africa and the Middle East.

In itself, that is a great tragedy, but in addition, that same Freedom of Speech has turned a very tenuous situation into a US political campaign issue – ignoring over two hundred years of American tradition of country trumps politics in any crisis.  The results of this unspeakable action are yet to fully play out.

Those of us who put America First over politics are in agreement that political posturing is inappropriate but wrong- no matter what- and those that do should be held accountable-no matter what the impact. And how that plays out and impacts the Republican candidate for President is yet to be seen.

But one incident especially, seemed to be a step too far.  With an embassy in Egypt under attack, a new Black Muslim leader of that country with whom the US is only beginning to interact to build a relationship, and diplomacy and negotiations underway to get him to move to provide support to our US citizens within that compound, for me it was unconscionable for any citizen to criticize our country and the leader elected by the people – live on national network- let alone to have this done by someone who views himself as the candidate for that very office.

Obama obviously very carefully said the new leader of Egypt was neither ally or enemy but was leader of new democracy feeling its way…a diplomatic way, for me, of saying, we are supporting the democracy and him and are in negotiations to gain his support in this situation.  Obviously, the Republicans thought differently and both they and their press clamored to judge.

Come on people!  In the short term, we desperately needed the Egyptian leader  to provide protection to our diplomats and citizens under attack!  In the long term, he desperately needs money from the US, acceptance and support in order to succeed.  To get what we needed in the moment, was it inappropriate to raise issue that if he did not act as ally, he may not get the support he needs to succeed that we normally give our allies?    You can debate and critique it later, but lives are at stake, if you are not part of the negotiation team, fully briefed on the strategy, keep your mouth shut!  You may not agree with or respect the Office of the President, but you have no right to bring it down in time of crisis – and still be considered as fit to be considered to run the country you so purport to love.

For me personally, any American who knowingly undermines our country in times of grave danger to any citizen, should be considered to have committed an act of treason.  Or perhaps we implement the Impeachment process for stated candidates for President.  Again, that old business adage of the 1980s-90s is no longer applauded.  Winning is NOT Everything, Mitt, whether we believed it 30 years ago or not. 

And when we survive this crisis; we will have time to debate what should have happened.  We all lost a lot of PERSONAL FREEDOMS after 9-11 – particularly in air travel.  Republicans and Democrats alike came together for the safety of our country and citizens.  Is it too much to ask, that the Republican candidate for President could at least ACT “presidential” in a crisis not on his watch?

 

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MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE LET THEM SECEDE….

September 8, 2012

Maybe we should have let them secede….

When I was in fourth grade, I discovered “Gone with the Wind” and became infatuated with the South. I have no recollection of when that infatuation faded…I remember a “new best friend” at church who was from Atlanta- the land of Rhett and Scarlett- in late grade school and into my early teens…then I grew up and my vision of mansions, gentry, debutantes and balls, faded.

I expect that change occurred about the same time I became more aware of current events as by the early sixties, there was trouble on those old plantations and marches, Little Rock, and civil rights, the Kennedys, Freedom Riders and Dr. King filled the news.  High school history/civics had exposed me to Dixicrats, then Southern Democrats, and finally the parting of the ways and set the state for the eventual end of the Solid South for the Democratic Party in 1968.

Maybe we should have let them secede.  The first time I remember verbalizing this thought, I believe, the “regulars” were gathered at the Alpha House cramming for another of Abe’s tests in American History…1964?…1965?  It got a laugh.  For surely, by the mid-60s, we knew the “South” was trouble.  100 years later and they still thought they were going to win the civil war.

In 1965 I was appalled on my first trip south to see the “MEN, WOMEN, NEGROES” restroom signs in Jackson Mississippi-I have more pictures of that as souvenirs of my trip than pictures of New Orleans; in the 90s, I was appalled to be in Alabama presenting with Jack Morton, a plan for Mercedes as they opened their plant…the undercurrent was there in New Orleans  on many a “Shell Oil” site visits in the 1980s, and when I went to “The Special Event” in late 90s or early 2000s.  The hatred and un-earned superiority remained.   I vowed then to never go back – my few dollars would never support a part of the country so bigoted and proud of nothing but the days of slaves and cotton!

And here we are, 150 years after the start of the Civil War and not much has changed….it’s just become coded or gone underground when necessary-but it is always there-just below the surface to jump out and hit you in the face when you least expect it.   And now those Southern Democrats have shifted parties and have a tight rein on the Republicans.

So when I saw Chuck Thomson’s “Better Off Without “Em – A Northern Manifesto For Southern Secession”, it caught my eye, I chuckled, and was reminded of my own secession thoughts for them almost fifty years ago.  Of course I gave in, purchased the book and it sits on the corner of my desk as I write this, dressed in a jacket of confederate flag and GOP graphics….an irreverent and sometimes crude epistle that I can only take in small doses…but I was hooked with the Introduction and now am about two-thirds through and I am still thinking maybe we should have let them secede.

Think about it….It was not the Southern Whites that could figure out how to create jobs in their states for those less affluent than themselves….it took northern influence looking for cheap labor to take a gamble, build the auto plants and put people to work….so what would happen if the government run military bases moved north, the plants now needing less cheap labor (technological changes that reduce # of humans needed to work in factories) moved back up north.  Wonder how much cash they still have in the Confederacy bank to recreate themselves and take care of and support themselves…oh yes. There IS the oil that has replaced the cotton cash crop.

As I was pondering this topic once again, on August 23, the STRIB published a timely article by Jeffrey Kolnick entitled “GOP must slip its ugly skin” which tracked the story of Dixiecrats to Southern Democrats to the Democratic Party’s struggle to get them silenced that led them to jump ship and head for the Republicans.

 “Courageous Democrats fought a struggle for the soul of their party and won.  If the same struggle were to happen within the Republican Party, we might at last become a nation where no national party welcomes the intolerant and the bigoted.  But who among the Republicans has the courage of Alfred E. Smith or Hubert Humphrey”?

Therein lays the question of the day.  It surely was not Mitt Romney.  His long-held image of himself as President and his need to win means he succumbed to Dixie bedfellows.

We can only hope the United States of America  led by our President, Barack Obama, wins this struggle.

 

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THE FORGOTTEN YEARS

August 30, 2012

As Bill Clinton is resurrected by the Democrats, George W. Bush is being erased by the GOP-as if an entire eight years of American history hadn’t happened.

                              Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor      

 

This caught my eye this morning, and I thought to myself…how sad is that-I did not even notice the absence. 

But sure enough, as I read through the article, I learned that for the first time in history, a national party will not be giving the stage at its convention to its most recent occupant of the Oval Office who successfully ran for reelection.   

And of course, as the author stated, the GOP is intent on allowing America’s short–term memory to block out what happened when the Republicans were last in office.    I am sorry to confess, they are making a wise gamble, as I have simply forgotten some of the pain of those years.  And, I admit, I had never made the connection between the two Bushes and the two Romneys as being similar father-son  issues.  Whether that is actually the case, I will leave to the reader, but if you missed the article, I have included key paragraphs below to start you thinking!

Republicans want to obliterate any trace of the administration that told America there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and led us into a devastating war; ignored New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina; turned a $5 trillion projected budget surplus into a $6 trillion deficit; [Ed. Comment: Note that is an $11 trillion negative swing that today has morphed into something OBAMA is being blamed for] gave the largest tax cut in a generation to the richest Americans in history, handed out a mountain of corporate welfare to oil and gas industry, pharmaceutical companies and military contractors like Halliburton (uniquely benefitting the then-vice president); whose officials turned a blind eye to Wall Street shenanigans that led to the worst financial calamity since the Great Crash of 1929 and then persuaded Congress to bail out Wall Street with the largest taxpayer-funded giveaway of all time.    

As I read the article, I was reminded that humans surviving a great tragedy tend to block out the pain and the details, and surely, I have done just that.  I know all this; my mind just would not let me put it all together as it is much too painful.   So I am glad that Reich reminded me so that I have a quick retort to Romney’s claim that Obama’s policies were bad for the economy and exploded the government.

And then the author continues with a twist that I had not considered:

Besides, the resemblances between Bush and Romney are too close for comfort.  Both were born into wealth, sons of prominent politicians who themselves ran for president; both are closely tied to the nation’s corporate and financial elites, and eager to do their bidding; both are socially awkward and, as candidates, tightly scripted for fear of saying something they shouldn’t; and both presented themselves to the nation devoid of any consistent policies or principles that might give some clue as to what they actually believe.

They are both men who ran or are running for the presidency for no clear reason other than to surpass their fathers or achieve the aims and ambitions of their wealthy patrons.

That made me sit up and take notice.  I will have to give that some processing and fact-checking time, but it is a very interesting proposition!

Missing from the article was the one additional concern I have…the neo-cons that took possession of Bush and were those giving the advice that created every single misstep of George W. are the very same people – not just philosophy- that are counseling Mr. Romney.   This is their third chance to destroy us…they could not do it on their own; they could not do it through the puppet of George W. Bush; and now they are attempting to do it again.  Three strikes and we can only hope the OUT is on them and not on the United States!

As I sit here trying to digest this and what it means, I am clinging to the good news that in general, “last heard is last remembered” and for those still undecided in this election decision, I can only hope that the statement holds true and the Democrats carefully and relentlessly tackle the Bush mistakes for what they were as they share the message of what has been accomplished so far in 3.5 years of moving towards recovery…and then quietly end with a thoughtful and factual comparison that shows one nice man controlled by the neo-cons and another nice man  now lined up their sights who also will be used, abused and thrown aside by the neo-cons if he elected as President of the United States.

 And from my perspective, it would not hurt to throw in a few twists that communicate that  a 1980s business leader no longer has the appropriate skills to lead a country into a winning position in this new very different century.  We tried it for 8 years and suffered; we may not recover if we are forced backwards for another 4 years. It is time to turn this country over to the next generation as we are trying to do with Obama!

This has been a painful (and in some instances humorous) week; I am so glad the Democrats will have the last word on the national stage before the debates begin.  Now if only we could find some press that were innovative enough to ask some questions that will not be anticipated by either candidate or their “trainers”….as I have no doubt, of the two, Obama can think on his feet.  Romney?  Not so much.

 

 

 

 

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TEN YEARS: Creating the Fiscal Cliff from My Perspective

August 5, 2012

 “More than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts will kick in at year’s end unless Congress reaches a budget deal.  If they can’t, the economy will plunge into recession, contracting at an annual rate of 1.3 per cent in the first six months of 2013, the Congressional Budget Office said.”

Headlines focusing on the Fiscal Cliff tell the story.  Economic growth has slowed to 1.5 percent in the second quarter…because businesses are holding off hiring and investments as they wait for Washington to decide what will happen next year. Of course, in the meantime, they are amassing great pools of working capital and profit without taking any responsibility for our situation.

Over my morning coffee, I could not help but ponder what of all this is the result of good PR and SPIN on the part of the Republicans, and what of this situation tells the story of the Obama Administration.  Am I totally off base to give the benefit of the doubt to Obama because I view him as the first of a NEW generation of Presidents, in a NEW century , with NEW rules – most of which we as a world have not yet discovered?

Surely, I know the Republicans and MOST of the press are still using 20th century benchmarks and dreams to define this political campaign.  Daily, I shake my head and say to myself:  all this emotion, gloom and doom, and yearning for the comfortable world of the 20th century … when are we as people going to grab the ring, welcome the new frontiers, pull ourselves up and direct our strengths and resources to take advantage of opportunities lying before us?

And every day I am dragged, kicking and fighting, back into these old battles as we all balance on the precipice.  But, I know I am not the only one in the US who is not clinging to the past-every day I see proof of a more positive future in whatever I do.

And so, this morning, I determined I needed to create my own timeline of the 21st century, so I can understand how we got to where we are today.

2000:    Most can agree; we were on the right track in debt reduction in the Clinton Administration. But yes, many wanted a change; a closely  divided country wanted the Democrats out and the Republicans in….and it came to pass.

2001:     Republicans controlled the White House and the Congress; but to get a majority to pass the Bush $1.7 trillion tax cut, they called it a temporary cut, and limited it to ten years.

2001:     After 9-11, Republicans supported by most Democrats called for WAR on Afghanistan for sole purpose:  to get Osama bin Laden.  What we missed in the emotion was the plan to pay for this war on a credit card.  AND we wrongly assumed we could use our power, friends and technical superiority to quickly FIND HIM and take him out..  AND we got the country wrong.   But we all joined together, waved the flag and shouted “Support the Troops”.

 I do dimly remember a few cautionary “discussions” about the Russian Experience in Afghanistan,  as some of us  thought that this would not be as easy as emotion and promotion promised.  I am sorry I called it right on this one.

Eleven years later, we are still there and trying to figure out how to avoid being killed by the very guns we provided to Afghani rebels fighting the Russian, and how to get out…now finally recognizing this was no easy task and the Neo-Cons were wrong.  How many lives lost (PLEASE do not just count US lives) but the good news is a decade later, Osama bin Laden was found – hiding in plain sight in Pakistan and is now dead.  So finally, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, despite a decade-long war fought in the wrong country!  But, it’s a score for OBAMA not the NEO-CON Republicans.

2002:     Republican plans for IRAQI military action, disrupted by 9-11 and the beginning of the 11 year hunt for Osama bin Laden, were again on the table.  We started a second war based on “imminent nuclear threat”.  This war, as well, was neither budgeted nor paid for during the Bush administration….we were still swiping the credit card.   

Editorial Comment:  Nothing I have learned in the decade since has shown my personal theory to be incorrect.  How much of this disaster was due to familial one-upmanship manipulated by neo-cons, disappointed in George Hubert Bush refusing to extend the original Gulf War?

2003:     Two wars were not going well and George W needed a popularity boost I guess, so back to the drawing board for a second “temporary” tax cut…this time for only seven years, so it coincided with the expiration date of the cuts passed in 2001.

The general consensus was that this Republican initiated move was supposed to “increase pressure” on Congress to extend them or make them permanent.

2004-8: So life was good; spending up; two wars on a credit card; government funds down with tax cuts for all…but instead of “job creation” we stalled out.  We “tripped” on the fun that resulted in unsustainable housing booms and incredible questionable antics in the financial world. And the wall came tumbling down.

By 2008, we are still fighting two wars on a credit card and we are lowering the US coffers.  The tax reductions did NOT lead to job creation, but to more job losses than any time in the last eighty years. The housing and financial bubbles burst and finally, like the little Dutch Boy, George W stuck his thumb in the dike-on his way out the door.  As he retreated to Texas, he abdicated all responsibility for the hole he made in the dike; and passed on to Obama, the responsibility to clean up the mess.

2009:     I am sure Republicans celebrated secretly as they thought“Whew, we are outta there before the bill came due from the wars, and no one recognizes yet that those tax cuts we implemented  did not create jobs…we can retreat and regroup and if we hurry, we can blame this whole mess caused by our incompetence on the Democrats”.   

Hard to believe it worked, but it did, and a new generation well-versed in 21st century thinking did not sense it coming.  A really hard way to lose one’s innocence.

2011:     FAST FORWARD to Summer, 2011.  Time is running out and we were stalemated on the budget.

Congressional Democrats offered automatic cuts to domestic programs and suggested the BUSH temporary tax cuts be evaluated.  Republicans countered with NO WAY and offered instead, Military cuts.

The LAST player to sign on to this plan?  Not the Demos, not the Repos… with a united congress, Obama agreed.

And except for the bickering and the spin, we got a short-term reprieve from the fiscal cliff.

2012:     Here we go again, but the spin has changed the story.  And either the Republicans have hung their candidate out to dry, or Romney just cannot follow what happened.   Either way, he does not seem to understand how foolish he sounds quoting neo-con strategies and platitudes.

  • Republicans cut taxes; and we lost jobs.
  • Republicans went to war and failed in two missions:  Get bin Laden and uncover the nuclear threat of Iraq.
  • Republicans went to war on a credit card and amassed incredible debt.
  • Republicans passed temporary tax cuts; wrote the law for reversal in 2011. I will pass on what options come next.   
  • Republicans cut the military budget so it doesn’t sound good for Romney to rage on about it.

I could keep going, but I am tired of this now, and have sorted out enough of the facts to see that I am remembering correctly what has transpired since the New Age dawned…and more talks of “let’s try again” in Syria and Iran just are not selling points for me.

Then I add the Congressional work not accomplished (the Strib outlines a few including Farm and Food, Postal Service, Russia Trade, Cyber-security, and Violence Against Women) and I can’t help but recognize-based on my own successful 40 year track record in business- that we have some Employee Performance issues within Congress  that may only be fairly solved by termination of work and all benefits without severance. 

I can’t wait to hear the details of–in his words- the” businessman’s plan” between now and election day.

 

 

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BIRDS OF A FEATHER

July 23, 2012

“If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.  And if you elect Mitt Romney, Iran will not have a nuclear weapon.”                                        – Mitt Romney, 2011

 

Every time I hear Mitt Romney declare “I have a plan”….I can’t help it, I wonder if this is his version of the “I have a dream” metaphor and that is why he expects we will just pick up and follow…without knowing any details.

The Empty Suit is heading to Israel to meet with the fire-cracker, Netanyahu.  And, of course, they will commiserate about how everyone else in the world is wrong on the approach to Iran, and together, the “birds-of-a-feather” will formulate a plan.  I have no doubt it will be one that puts “our greatest enemy- the USSR” in its place!

Please WORLD, do not let us go there again unless we can see the battle plan, and it includes how they will handle:

  • The Cost of War…on a credit card once more with the first payment due the day the next Democrat takes the Office of the President and has to clean up the damage?
  • The Costs of Lives Lost…and how this time, we won’t just count the Americans, but we will include the “collateral damage” – all the dead in other countries coerced to help us, and all the soldiers and innocent citizens of Iran and especially how we will compensate Iran for killing their future when we kill and traumatize their children.
  • The Costs of Rebuilding Iran…the infrastructure, the government, and how we can help with the innocents maimed (physically and mentally) and orphaned in this next land in which we choose to show off our might and stage our war games.
  • The Cost of Israeli Residual Damage…because surely, we do not think we will- with one strike- end this plan so there will be no losses in Israel – life, or infrastructure, or artifacts,
  • The Cost of Protecting the Antiquities…After lives lost in a unfinanced war, this is one of the greatest shames of Iraq…that we as Americans, put the glory of war ahead of preserving the stories and artifacts protected over thousands of years in this Cradle of Civilization.  During the Crusades, we secreted them away to the north; once we became more “sophisticated”, we simply deemed them not worth planning to preserve.

And then there are the costs to the United States ourselves. Before we go to war, we need a plan and verifiable budget to handle:

  • Support for the U.S. soldiers’ families left at home without much financial support;
  • How we offset the tax revenues lost when we pull men and women from jobs at home and send them off to war…perhaps to never return;
  • Support  returning veterans needs…medical, mental,  educational;
  • How we as a country replace those of the first generation of 21st century who will be impacted;
  • And, what is the plan to fill the gap with thinking that comprehends we live in a new world now where solutions of the past century should be regarded with mistrust…as most likely, there is a better way to solve the problems we encounter?   

“Father Knows Best” is not a convincing mantra today , especially when it appears most of those “fathers” are trying to preserve a bygone industrial world that will not return.

As a citizen of the United States, I would support an elected President Romney war campaign and “Support the Troops” as long as as that new Commander-in-Chief could lay out the strategy, tactics, associated costs, and a firm timeline from inception to successful conclusion.

And one last thing, that I am sure the “successful businessman of the 70-90s” can relate to:  I’d like to have a REAL/WIN/WORTH/RISK Analysis supporting this caper attached to the above documentation.   Then, as a woman business executive from the same era, I will have what I need to evaluate whether it’s a viable plan, or merely a plan of an empty suit, being supported on the hanger held by the neo-cons…one more time.