Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Paul Jobs, Thank You


You have directly affected the consciousness of hundred of millions around the world through your uncommon grasp of the most critical elements guiding the human interaction with technology.

You opened new paths in aesthetics, transforming mundane technologies into design marvels which each of us absolutely had to take home.

You set standards of quality and reliability that all others could only strive to emulate, but never imitate.

You established a standard for every executive running a large corporation, completely ignoring the corrupting siren songs of Wall Street brokerages. You couldn’t be bought. That maintenance of independence enabled a clarity of thinking and an unadulterated direction of America’s greatest company.

It was a pleasure to have participated in those earliest days of the ride.

All best wishes as you continue your voyage of discovery.

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Monday, August 15, 2011

• Canada’s Welcome Mat To Crime

As Canadian taxpayers contemplate personal debt ceilings, increasing costs of living, increasing taxes, and regressing net incomes, they are being failed by a broken judicial system and police forces who are no longer empowered or willing to act in their defense and protection.

Grasping for the good life, the average Canadian family has enshrouded itself with over $100,000 of debt, which represents a debt-to-income ratio of 150%. Admitting it is difficult, and discussing it in detail brings certain shades of shame, but the stress is undeniable. That stress has consequences. One of them is the blindness it brings to the breakdown occurring in the broader society. That blindness seems like complacency, however, when you’re overburdened with the challenge of feeding your family month to month, keeping up with what your own government is or is not doing, rarely makes your priority list.

While Canadian taxpayers were averting their attention throughout the past generation, their streets became littered with crime. Whether you visit Vancouver, Toronto, or Edmonton, on almost every street corner you cannot miss the drug pushers. The drug industry has a hierarchy that is unmistakeable, from the kid with the hoody and the backpack pretending to be waiting for a bus, to the low level distributor running low riding foreign subcompacts, to the black Chrysler 300s, to the Black Cadillac Escalades with $5,000 wheels, and all with necessary and prescribed blacked out windows, the drug industry command food chain is obvious. Obvious to all, but the judicial system.

Generally, there is the pernicious attitude that, “As long it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care.” Along come the gang wars, with high caliber, automatic weapons blaring, and spraying SUVs with bullets. The latest one on sunny Sunday afternoon in front of the high-end Delta Grand Hotel on the Kelowna, BC, waterfront. Temporarily, or for a few days at best, attitudes change then go back to, “As long it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care.”

Unfortunately, we don’t care, and neither do the police, the lawyers, the judges, or the liberal minds of the legislators who evolved Canada’s judicial system, laws and sentencing guidelines.

To keep the populace quiet, the suggestion promulgated by the media is that this particular shooting, for example, was a “targeted hit.” What a classy, diverting phrase this is. Oh, well, that makes it OK, “It's just criminals killing one another, which does not concern me.” Of course, the fact that a salon was also peppered with bullets from the automatic assault weapon didn’t quite make the front pages. And still, we don’t care.

The police departments have for years rationalized their lack of aggressive effort against the proliferation of criminals and criminality, by whining that their efforts are a waste of time since the courts let the criminals go when the criminals are brought in, . . . so what’s the point? The Court system in Canada is so lax that a murderer, Sasan Ansari, can kill Josh Goos at the Hoolyburn Country Club in West Vancouver, to whom he owes $100,000, by stabbing him 30 times with video evidence, and he gets two and half years for the crime.

Canadian taxpayers believe that their judicial system contains Sentencing Guidelines because their judges tell them so. That is an outright lie. Guidelines are virtually non existent because judges’ egos will not succumb to being instructed or told what to do. They also use the rationalization that each crime is committed in a different context from the previous one. Excuses are simply, that, excuses. There should be tight guidelines and regulations for crimes, rather than loose, very loose, recommendations.

There should also be a legislated shift away from the broken liberal belief that all criminals can be rehabilitated. This is one Trudeau legacy that must be put to rest conclusively. The politically correct attitude that people change and can be “improved,” may be occasionally true, but is not the rule. It is devastating the streets of Canada to backwaters where all doors are locked.

For two decades now, the British Columbia joke is that marijuana is the biggest industry in the Province. In truth, the immigration business is bigger, but drugs have become a major multi billion dollar industry that is enormous by any comparative measure.

It’s time the courts quit hiding behind the veil of poor guidelines, and the police quit hiding behind the poor record of Canadian courts. If the trend continues, Canada’s civil society will disintegrate to unrecognizable degradation which its children and grandchildren will regret.

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Saturday, July 30, 2011

• World Awaits America’s New Entrepreneurs

The developed world, and most of the struggling third world, as much as it may pretend otherwise for politically expedient reasons, is depending on an American economic turnaround. This means that the world is in fact awaiting, not for Washington to solve its debt crisis, not for a forestalling of Obama’s armageddon, not for resolutions of budget deficits, but for the resurgence of America’s unique brand of entrepreneurialism.

American entrepreneurs have always been the consummate optimists, whose innovation, creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and financial diligence, have produced the most successful economic engine in history. Entrepreneurs have independently created companies, big and small, that have sustained the tests of time and market adversities, and some have gone on to become international behemoths.

Today, America is spinning and twisting under leadership that vilifies businesses and maligns corporate America. It imposes laws, and institutes structural dictates that push entrepreneurship into the realm of the nearly impossible. An administration that promotes a climate of government growth and government dependence, is promoting the destruction of the fundamental and positive core of the human spirit that makes for a dynamic society.

When government grows faster than the private sector, net productivity shrinks. Such is the trend in America. It would be a complete waste of time to look to Washington for ideas or programs that might actually be helpful to any advancement of the entrepreneurial exercise. Furthermore, let’s not look to those glad-handers, who’ve gravitated to the beltway to rub shoulders with this Administration, for any answers. The agenda is being manipulated by less than a handful of ideologues behind Obama. Everything else is showcasing and pretense for the masses, accomplishing nothing positive toward improving productivity or increasing GDP.

Not everyone is cut out to become an entrepreneur, however, the urgent need for supporting entrepreneurship is now more manifest than at any time in the past century. Far too broad a swath of the MSM has been supportively trumpeting the Obama Administration’s ideological convictions and hostility toward corporate America. Too many Americans are sliding into the slothful perception that heaping taxation on those who “have,” is an answer to deficits produced by bloated government spending.

Since America’s earliest days, entrepreneurs have disseminated enthusiasm and passion for success which has been contagious. American entrepreneurs champion the work ethic while playing by the country’s rules and laws that much of the world may not emulate, but furtively admires. I say "may not emulate" because, as we have discovered in so many other socio-political environments including China, laws and decency don’t often matter.

In high schools, colleges and universities, students should be encouraged to break new ground for themselves as new entrepreneurs, rather than to go out and “find a job.” It’s always easier and is the default to pursue the latter, but some encouragement is required to attempt the former. Educational institutions should place more emphasis on the stimulation of entrepreneurial thinking, and should allocate class time and courses to the encouragement of new entrepreneurs. You may not be able to “teach” entrepreneurialism, but you can certainly induce its discovery, and inspire its actualization.

Some entrepreneurs may be born, but entrepreneurialism is also a mindset that can be ignited and nurtured, and its required skills developed. More effort should be addressed to cultivating the perception that entrepreneurs are among the most positive contributors to a vibrant and successful society. They are critical to the economic health of America. The entrepreneurial attitude is the antithesis of the union led bureaucratic morass that has grown out of control, and clogged the wheels of progress and the financial well being of companies.

Typically the entrepreneurs who grab public attention are those who cut new trails in technology, however, any new business, in any industry, that can be formed to employ at least one person, is a step in the right direction. America has no choice but to reverse the current trend toward disaster. The Nation must enthusiastically promote entrepreneurialism and its optimistic perseverance.

The world looks forward to America’s new entrepreneurs and the energy they will inject into the world’s most consequential economy.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

The Source Of Vancouver's Dangerous Housing Bubble

Heads in sand, Federal and Provincial governments have stood by as out of control forces abuse Canada's immigration largesse and place financial pressures that are already harming Canadian taxpayers.

Now Canadians get a glimpse at the sources of the cash that has corrupted the whole Immigration industry, and created a strange anomaly that has become known around the world as the Vancouver Housing Bubble.

The Financial Times has revealed, "Corrupt officials took $124bn out of China" outlining the size of the fraud perpetrated on China by corrupt officials. Canada has not been the recipient of the "investment" part of that stash, but its real estate has been impacted by large amounts of "cash sheltering." For twenty years the stories of Chinese "buyers," purchasing real estate in Vancouver, as well as Toronto, sight unseen, have been common place.

These ill gotten billions have created an unusual situation for Vancouver. As the Vancouver Sun reported, "Chinese are parking money in Canadian land like a bank." Its real estate prices have no economy to support them.

British Columbia produces very little that anyone outside its borders wants to purchase, other than the natural resources it digs out of its soil. And yet, it's real estate is among the most expensive on earth. Young people cannot afford to house themselves in Vancouver, and even find other parts of the British Columbia lower mainland too expensive.

The aberration of corrupt Chinese officials offshoring their cash has placed a massive burden on Canadians whose homes are in majority owned by banks. Canadians now shoulder more personal debt than Americans. The housing bubble that will inevitably burst, will begin a wave that will start in Vancouver, and will rapidly spread across the country. Neither Ottawa, nor Victoria, can do anything to temper the damage the burst will bring.

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

• Trump As President?

TRUMP - The analysis begins in earnest as it should. Obama has announced his reelection campaign from the vantage and with the advantage of the bully pulpit. Contenders are lining up as America as America struggles through a long recession, yearning for strong decisive leadership.

Donald Trump has teased the electorate in the past, pretending to seriously consider a run for the White House. This Presidential election finds Republican support for some politically green but very appealing potential candidates. These may well bide their time and wait until 2016 before displaying the audacity to become pretenders to the seat in the Oval Office. Past analysis such as Obama – The First Tell, was helpful in anticipating a President Elect’s road ahead. Trump’s superficial relationship with the voting public has been distorted by its inevitable distance from an unusual celebrity billionaire. Donald Trump has delighted in each moment of attention he has been able to attract by jumping onto the spotlight dot. His reach into our communal consciousness begs a little scrutiny.

• Trump is not ideologically anchored. This moves his appeal factor positively as he will carry little obligation to either political party. He will also present a more refreshing alternative to a public tired of Washington indebtedness to special interests. At the very least, he will be more honest with how he feels, and he will easily be more knowledgeable with on all topics than what we have seen subjected to since the last Presidential election.

• A lack of ideological fervor also makes it more likely that from his perch in the Oval Office he would be a pragmatist. Unlike the embarrassingly far “left” rooted individuals choking the Obama Administration, Trump would most probably pluck the best talent, however it might present itself, wherever he could find it, and in whatever political flavor it might be drenched.

• His insecurities mean his ego can be stroked to get his favor and attention, but he isn't narcissistic. In Trump’s case the insecurities also suggest that he is driven to succeed.

• Trump will surround himself with experienced talent, and it is unlikely that he will punt important decisions down the road, or to someone else, unlike Obama who is clearly controlled by his handlers and seems ready, willing and able, to have others take care of business. If and when America elects Trump, he will be the President, NOT one of his handlers.

• Trump will not chase the Presidency in order to enable a retirement anxious for newfound opulence and luxury. Trump might be seduced, but he won’t be bought.

• Trump will get into the face of anyone in his administration not delivering the goods whether on the economy, on international affairs, and on national affairs. His ego will not allow for anything to screw up. Trump will be a “task master.”

• He'll probably try to figure out how to get his name emblazoned over the White House front door. He has a tendency to “brand” everything he touches. One way or another, he’ll want the world to know “Donald Trump was here.” “Destiny” would be his middle name for at least four years.

• Getting elected would not be Trump's "crowning moment," . . . the four years of his Presidency would be.

• He may not be as bright as Slick Willy Clinton, however he isn't as ideologically rooted, therefore his pragmatism will be more effective and he is likely to be more persuasive. Oh, and he will not tarnish the Oval Office the way Slick did.

• He isn't afraid of hard work, and his track record suggests an interested, inquisitive mind, unlike what we have recognized in the current occupant of the leather chair in the Oval Office.

• Trump likes attention, obviously, but his need to be successful at everything he does, means he’s a workaholic, which would be a welcome change from the reality we have discovered in the incumbent.

• Trump has been in the construction business in New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Chicago where he's had to have a close and warm working relationship with the mob since the mob controls such minor and unimportant industries as Concrete. Those “guys” are not the easiest crowd in town to deal with. Trump knows how to ''get things done," and will. When you need a guy, he "knows a guy."

• Trump cleaned his bankers - got the better of them through his now legendary recoveries from the grim shadows of the poorhouse, again, and again, and again. That took unmitigated brass.

• Trump comes across as a bit of a lecher who could give Slick Willy a run for his money, but that’s just a perception. Slick used other people's executive jets to take advantage of impressionable young women, and the whole world knew about it except Hillary. Trump has his own plane.

• Love for America? It is impossible to deny that Trump really loves America, and is passionate about its success and leadership in the world.

• Contributions to both political parties? You're kidding? . . . . Who cares. He bought some support. That's what Congress is there for, . . . to be bought. The results are obvious and ever present.

• Trump has a long track record of being a leader. America is longing for a leader who can deliver more than long words on a teleprompter saying little and delivering less.

• Genuflection – somehow that is not a picture of a President Trump and any foreign head of state which would be served up by the MSM. Ever. Knocking fists? Perhaps. Genuflection? Not much.

• Trump’s fluid I-speak-my-mind-regardless-who-I’m-talking-to approach would be a refreshing alternative from the daily decantings of unrelenting telepromptered dronings we are served from the White House. Not that Trump’s musing are all intelligent, many are fused in common sense, but at least he’s entertaining when he drives off the road.

Elections are greatly influenced by the state of the economy. Regardless what the Administration, or its supportive pundits pretends, . . . the economy continues to be in serious trouble and will be so through the 2012 election. Additionally, there is no will or clarity in the White House, and not much of it in a majority of Congress to deal head-on with the deficit, or the debt, or job creation. Trump provides an alternative which the poles currently suggest is being seriously considered.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

• Japan – A Need Of Friends In The Aftermath

We have observed the graphic images of the Japanese and their nation, succumbing to the overwhelming forces of nature destroying lives, infrastructure, and economy.

In a couple of years the currents of the Pacific and prevailing winds will scatter debris across North America’s shores. Those will be reminders of the life changing devastation and very human tragedy that has been, since that infamous day March 11, holding Japan in a state of shock. Who will Japan look to as it rebuilds.

The world’s third largest economy, and America’s second largest debt holder, is being battered with power shortages and supply-chain difficulties that impact production of its principal exports, as concern grows that nuclear contamination could affect its food supply system, and its water sources. Japan is very aware that such a calamity, the reality of which has been literally slammed into its consciousness, will tax all of its emotional, spiritual and economic reserves. Japan also understands that in this time of confusion, and catastrophe, while it welcomes help from foreign shores, it knows that it is in a very lonely place.

Japan’s dependence on nuclear energy is not about to change since it is devoid of natural resources, and nuclear has presented the best insulation from the vagaries of the oil fields of the Middle East. Once Japan has had a chance to mourn its dead and heal its injured, and once it has answered the needs of over half a million new homeless, it will revisit its vulnerabilities. The dedication, work ethic and pride, which created the ingenuity behind the high quality products which the world markets clamored for and absorbed, will address itself to the question of self-sufficiency with renewed vigor.

Japan will launch its considerable wealth and industry to solving a breadth of weaknesses that recent events highlighted. It will address itself to long-term solutions for its energy needs, as well as the fragility of its food and water supplies. In a dramatic shift from the past half-century’s regressed strategy on defense and military, we can expect Japan to take strong strides toward more military self-reliance. For now, it welcomes all the help it can get including that of foreign companies who have already contributed significant funds to the relief effort.

As the state of the art USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier along with other U.S. ships in the region provide welcomed humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, the Japanese cannot help but be touched, even inspired, by the indomitable American spirit of the Sailors and Marines who have donated and collected goods and supplies, personally augmenting the official relief effort. This touching and much needed accomplishment, in the face of the monumentally devastating crush of one of America’s truly best and closest allies, served to balance the impoverished tone and shapeless delivery of, “Our hearts go out to our friends in Japan and across the region, and we’re going to stand with them as they recover and rebuild from this tragedy” from the Obama White House teleprompter – then, exit stage left for Rio.

The whole of the Japanese population is looking inward for strength, but in its isolation it will also look to friends for support through the next few years of rebuilding and restoration. Fortunately, there exists an American population, far from the self-absorption of Washington that the people of Japan can look to for a confirmation on the meaning of friendship.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

• Leadership And The Middle East Crisis

In one generation our world has shrunk immeasurably, yet it has also exploded unrecognizably. The Internet and the social media superimposed on it has claimed responsibility for igniting revolutions and/or demonstrations throughout Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Oman and Bahrain.

Overthrown governments in Tunisia and Egypt are a problem, however, revolutions in countries such as strategically critical Libya and Bahrain present a whole different set of even more troubling uncertainties. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates are implementing measures to snuff out those potential fires of unrest by “buying” segments of their populations before they get out of control.

Saudi Arabia increased salaries to public employees by 15% and made claims that it will improve education, infrastructure and healthcare through the trickling of $36 billion down through Saudi society – from the top. The Saudi pre-emptive strike is a short-term plug in a leaky dyke holding back unrest it doesn’t understand, and blames on foreign disruptive forces. It’s king and ruling family lack the capacity to ignite the entrepreneurial or creative innovation required to build a country for long term success.

Countries that are currently home to 2/3 of known crude reserves are now unstable, and have escalating conflicts that will further the bloodshed in the streets. It doesn’t take a crystal ball to foresee continuing rises in oil prices which will in turn feed the monster of inflation to affect prices of most products and foods around the world.

Through the sandstorms of all uprisings there are religious forces influencing the fighting, particularly Shiites colliding with Sunnis. We should be particularly concerned with evolving conflicts on the streets of Bahrain, where a Sunni king rules a 70% Shiite population. Bahrain is the banking capital of the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Fifth Fleet, which is responsible for the naval forces in the Persian Gulf and the whole regions, is based on the island. Bahrain’s strategic importance is immeasurable. Shiite Iran which has long funded and armed insurgencies occurring amongst its Muslim neighbors is just a stone’s throw across the pond, while Sunni Saudi Arabia is a walk across the 16 mile causeway, but Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province with a Shiite majority, holds critical oil production facilities.

There are parallels in perspectives that exist between the House of Saud and the Administration in the White House, and should either or both continue to proceed in denial, there are outcomes that will negatively impact the populations of the two countries.

Both the House of Saud and the Obama administration are attempting to purchase support of their respective populations. Such measures are very temporary, stopgap solutions rooted in ignorance. Both ignore reality. King Abdullah heaving bushels of dollars out his palace windows, briefly quieting the simmering discontent he doesn’t understand, and Obama’s stubborn refusal to listen to the message bellowed from America’s streets through the midterm election bullhorns, suggests confusion at the top in both countries.

The current United States leadership appears conflicted between choosing the objective of championing America’s propensity to uphold principles of freedom and democracy, and maintaining stability in the region. Those are not mutually exclusive missions for the Middle East, yet any breakdown of decisive direction and action will provide Iranian leadership an opportunity to expand it footholds from which to spread its religious doctrine of hate and slaughter across the Middle East.

A majority of any population does not want handouts – this truism applies in America, and it applies in Saudi Arabia, as well as Bahrain. As we have witnessed, it also applies in the streets of Teheran. People seek safety, freedom, dignity, transparency, and justice, within which they can actuate the lives they pursue for themselves and their families. A transition to more open governance is inevitable. It will take decisive leadership from the West to ensure that such freedom is provided and maintained in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

We may soon reach a point when America will be forced to draw a line around Bahrain’s sands. American presence must not leave Bahrain’s shores, and Bahrain cannot fall to extremist interests. It certainly cannot be allowed to slide under an Iranian manipulated extremist thumb. Stability in these critical countries across the Middles East will have positive impact on the West, and the Obama White House will have to demonstrate some heretofore obscure measures of resolve.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

• The Great Void In Education

Watching teachers lead young children by the hand to demonstrate on the streets of Wisconsin, educating them on the finer art of union bargaining methodology, it becomes abundantly clear that great voids exist in the educational continuum. The void becomes even more obvious when the Oval office, and possibly the Democratic Party, meddle with the State leadership by championing Union actions such as shutting down schools.

As we set out on our paths through life, we come to recognize that students graduating from High School, University or College, are lacking some necessary tools and percepts critical to all endeavors, personal or business, which academia could have provided. Union tactics are not among them.

Evidently, too many voters during the last Presidential elections forgot that a community organizer gains power and influence by making chimerical promises to susceptible listeners. He assures them that government controlled economic activity will lead to redistribution of wealth, . . . “You’re being oppressed so that you can’t get what’s yours, . . . I’ll get it for you through government.”

The community organizer Does Not imbue the community with personal motivation, or any sense of individual purpose. The Community organizer is incapable of distinguishing the difference between controlling the game and its players, from the enforcement of laws that shape how honestly the game is played, particularly by its biggest players. He also confuses Wall Street and Banking, with the business and corporate sectors of the Nation’s economic engines.

Although we are social beings, our greatest learning and our deepest satisfaction come from within and these are energized through accomplishment. The good and the bad of all our experiences, big and small, are positive as long as they are ours, . . . ours without blame, or deflection, or passing the buck.

Those who would stifle such energy are hypocritical, self-serving charlatans. This type of leadership does not honestly promote challenging of the mind, or invigorating the spirit, or animating innovation, or even hard work, but instead seeks to covertly suppress them.

America holds a unique body of work that rests at its foundation, produced by an exceptional group of men, but it may be less commonly known in its classrooms than the sayings of Confucius. I refer to the ample documentation such as The Federalist Papers, and the letters and speeches provided for future generations by the sages who were principally responsible for the Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, the Founding Fathers.

I don’t infer that these men were the epitome of wisdom, since they were human after all, nevertheless they were wise enough to create the foundation for an environment the world admires and wishes to emigrate to, 222 years after the first adoption and ratification of its framework.

When John Adams wrote, “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom,” he did not mean that the country’s youth should be instructed in ideology. As individual freedom remains a most aspired-to circumstance in any society, the thinking of those who produced its best configuration, should, as has been proposed by many for two centuries, become very common knowledge and should be intrinsically incorporated into the fabric of the educational system.

As teachers march out of the schools of Wisconsin, we are reminded of what has been gravely omitted from their place of work.

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