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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Shooter Targets Jewish in Kansas - How About Some Global American Values instead?

It has just been reported that a man walked into a Jewish center and asked "Are you Jewish?" and if the answer was "Yes" he shot them. A teenager and an 70 year old woman are two of the dead.

My deepest condolences. This is another moron committing another hate crime. The man was reported saying "Heil Hitler" when arrested.

We have enough of this moronic intolerance couple with deadly force.

Global American Values is about tolerance and treating people with respect. Join me in making those your values. If you have a disagreement, put it in writing or video.  Flying bullets and dead bodies of innocent people makes you nothing but a murderer and a scumbag like the shooter in this horrible day in Kansas. This man deserves the same end for this crime as his hero Hitler.

Again, my deepest empathy to the families of those killed today.

P.S. WATCH OUT. The Ukraine crisis is heating up...and it DOES impact Americans.

Follow us here or Like on Facebook for updates.

http://www.katu.com/news/national/3-dead-after-Jewish-Community-Center-shooting-255092491.html


Looking at the TX GOP and Democratic Primaries - as a candidate in BOTH...



Thoughts from the Texas Campaign Trail

I just finished a run for the U.S. Senate seat now held by John Cornyn in the Democratic primary.  I am the only Democratic candidate who has run in a GOP primary both as a Republican and Independent,  and therefore am the only primary candidate who can compare the parties, then and now. Here is what I saw.

In 2000, the first time I ran for office, I was living in Ft. Bend, Texas, which was in the district held by then Rep. Tom DeLay. The district had been gerrymandered so that it was at least 60% Republican. I went to a Democratic meeting and discovered that there wasn’t really anything going on–just a few people in a small house.  Every Democratic candidate got a maximum of 36% of the vote.

I had supported Democrats since I was a University of Texas senior in Austin during the George McGovern campaign in 1972. I had soldiered on during campaigns by Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis. But I kept having this weird dream that I needed to run for Congress as a Republican! I wasn’t sure if it was a nightmare or a vision but it kept repeating.

For years, Mr. DeLay had not been seen in his district. No one challenged him on the primary ballot and he’d knock down 60 percent plus in November in the general election (the advantage of gerrmandering.) Since he didn’t have to worry about winning his district he focused on beating up Democrats in national politics, including leading the charge in impeaching President Bill Clinton.

So I decided that the only way to challenge Tom DeLay and his policy of scorched-earth politics of personal destruction was to challenge him in the only place where it would have an impact.  In the GOP primary. No one else had dared challenge Tom DeLay in the primary because he had a well-earned reputation for being mean and vindictive.  He didn’t even bother to campaign!  At that time I didn’t have much to lose, so I drove to Austin on the last filing day and paid the $2,500 fee to put my name on the ballot and run.

Suddenly Mr. DeLay was in his district and showing up for meetings in the counties in the district. Officials told me that they had not seen him in years. Now he was in their face all the time, micro-managing them!   In three subsequent primaries I saw three different district boundaries in three consecutive elections. Tom DeLay insisted on a mid-decade redistricting since his CD 22 had become nearly half Democratic.

I also discovered, to my surprise, that even without a budget, without a mailing or a TV ad, I got nearly 20% of the vote! I had people coming up to me–Republicans--saying they wanted to know how to pronounce the name of the guy they voted for. Why? Because that same arrogance of Mr. DeLay, to my surprise, also bothered the less radical people in his own party. I discovered that there are indeed, moderate Republicans. The problem is that most moderates don’t vote until November–it is the radical right that votes in the primaries.

I never fit in with the GOP. I found that it was mostly white people who didn’t like anyone different–different color or religion. I found the “pro-life” rhetoric to sound empty when the same people who claimed to be pro-life were against funding education properly and opposed access to healthcare and food stamps. How ‘pro- life” is it to be against people having insurance and enough food? The party of Reagan didn’t look like America, but a narrow subset of this great diverse nation.

I stopped running when Tom DeLay resigned in 2004 after running afoul of campaign finance laws. I focused on business and founded a new company in 2008 to provide security to buildings from hurricanes, burglars and solar heat.

But then in 2010 the tea party wing of the GOP swept into power–electing Congressional reps who had never been in office or outside their own county seats—all in a rage against America’s first black President, whom I had supported and voted for.  They took over state houses and started to limit the right to vote and gerrymandered districts to give themselves a majority in the House of Representatives. Then tea party hero Ted Cruz took the GOP Senate seat of Kay Bailey Hutchinson away from David Dewhurst. This was no longer the party of moderates like George H.W. Bush. Not even Ronald Reagan could be nominated in today’s GOP–Reagan was willing to reach across the aisle and have a drink with Democratic leaders like Tip O’Neil.  Those days of “compromise” are now considered sacrilegious–never mind that our nation was founded on compromise by our founding fathers.

I saw that the GOP had become even more radical then what I had seen nearly a decade previously. I could not go down that road again. In 2013, Wendy Davis announced that she would run for Texas Governor on the Democratic ticket. I checked around–and no “big name” was going to run for the U.S. Senate seat held by John Cornyn on the Democratic side. A herd of challengers were running against John Cornyn in the GOP primary. But Cornyn is no Tom DeLay. I had no interest in trying to make my brain small enough to fit into the GOP that now spewed venom and crazy subhuman mongrel talk against not just the President but women, gays, Hispanics–just about everyone--including people who were in different country clubs.

No one had filed for the U.S. Senate when I was scheduled to leave on a cruise from Rome to Istanbul during Thanksgiving week in November, except for a young woman attorney from El Paso. We would not get back until the final day to file, so I signed up to put my own policies out there since I have legal negotiating experience in over 50 countries and had written a book, “Better Times Ahead April Fool,” which concluded with a chapter on how to make America No. 1 again. It was entitled “Agenda for American Greatness.”  When I got back from the cruise, three other people had signed up to run in the Democratic primary, including one who wants to impeach President Obama—trying to do to the Democratic primary what I was trying to do in the GOP race against DeLay. None of us had a statewide name. The race was on.

Of course, the first thing I discovered was that my past races in the GOP cast me with suspicion by Democratic primary voters. I couldn’t blame them. This was my first opportunity to see inside the Democratic primary firsthand.

The contrast with the GOP couldn’t be more stark. Whereas the GOP gatherings were nearly all white people, many of them older than dirt, the Democratic meetings looked like America does–a diverse mix of people, colors, religions, gay and straight.  I loved it. I went to Mexican American Democratic meetings; I went to black newspapers; union groups; environmental groups, etc. Each group had a mix of people, religions, colors.

Democrats may look different from one another but all of us share mutual respect and a common bond. We value improving education, justice and equality. I met people who care about the middle class and poor who want an opportunity for an education and better job. The GOP focus is on special deals for the wealthy who pay a smaller percentage of taxes than the common working men and women. They are into denying science while cutting education.  In the Democratic primary I met people who are forward looking and believe America should invest in its next generation of young people and technology to keep us competitive in the global economy.  I even met with numerous gay groups who did not endorse me even when I said I was for marriage equality and for legalization of marijuana but it didn’t matter. I still believe in equality for all–men, women, gays and straight people. It’s what makes America great.

The campaign showed me how narrow the news media has become. Most of the coverage went to the GOP race, so voters had little information about us Democratic candidates. The media was obsessed on the “tea party” candidate Steve Stockman (ironically, I live in his district.) I saw newspaper endorsements for other Democratic candidates totally unrelated to the skills required for the office. Endorsements went to candidates who were “more passionate” or had more money (even when it was a ‘tepid nod’ as described by the Dallas Morning News.) No one seemed to care that a U.S. Senator has to have global knowledge and experience when making international decisions. For example, I said that I had been on TV as a Terrorism Analyst since 9/11 arguing against the Iraq war when Cornyn was voting for it–his mistake cost us trillions and countless lives. As far as the media is concerned a millionaire car dealer with no clue of life outside Muleshoe, Texas ranks above someone with legal negotiating experience in 50 plus countries, or even someone who predicted 9/11.

So, in the end, I came in last in votes but I was still a winner.  At the $1 per vote I invested, I would have been in the primary had I invested $250,000 instead of $23,000. Yet it was worth it. I met tons of new friends and the campaign made me reconnect with old friends I had lost contact with. I put 25,000 miles on two cars in two months (my first car died from exhaustion midway through the primary.) I now know this huge state even better after traveling from one end to the other (from cold sea fog in Corpus  Christi to freezing sleet in Dallas on the same day,) from the Texas Panhandle to the tip of the valley in Brownsville.

From my experience, looking from the inside of the Democratic Party, I saw the future of America. It is a Democratic one--unless the GOP casts off its bigotry and intolerance of those who look different or have a different religion or nationality. That same intolerance is the problem in the Middle East where Sunnis and Shiites hate and kill each other, bringing misery to all. 

We live in a world full of people who have different skin colors and religions, but in America they share common values. Those American values are respect, justice, fairness, tolerance and equal opportunity.  Those are the values of the Democratic Party, and I am home to stay.

These should be the same values of the Republican Party but, unfortunately, I see the GOP obsessed with tilting the deck towards the wealthy, suppressing votes from the 99% to buy elections and picking our Congress “of the 1% for the 1%.” If we follow the GOP vision, America will look like Putin’s Russia where a few oligarchs enrich themselves under a dictator who crushes competition, jails opponents and flogs Russian singers for exercising free speech—while denying the vast majority of Russians opportunity for a better life or free choice.

Michael Fjetland
www.BetterTimesAheadAprilFool.com

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today's whites will be tomorrow's minority - Why Civil Rights Matters

I was 14 and still living on a farm in Iowa when it happened 50 days ago this week.

In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson helped pass the Civil Rights bill, finishing what JFK started but only a Frank Underwood type southerner-like Johnson could pull off. Johnson knew it would cost the southern white vote for a generation, but he had the political courage to do the right thing anyway. That courage is no where to be seen today. America benefited from it - no longer could a person be barred from waking into a restaurant or bar or hotel because of their color. Or have to use a separate water fountain.

The Civil Rights law of 1964 (followed by the Voting Rights law of 1965) is what makes America SPECIAL. Why?

Because it started an era where we judge people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin.  In 1965 my father moved us to Texas. I still remember being shocked by the negative racial attitude I found among whites.

I remember asking myself, even as a young teenage boy: "Why don't they like Hispanics when they don't even know them--they live in separate worlds!"

Have you seen the movie "The Tuskegee Airmen" - about the first black pilots trained for WWII (who never lost a bomber)?  I related to the pilot from Iowa who was stunned when  their train reached Alabama and the black pilot trainees met instant hostility and disrespect -- and were forced to move to another car while white German prisoners took their place. In Texas I was white, watching it happen to others and thought to myself, "It wasn't this way in Iowa."

It's part of my story in "Better Times Ahead April Fool"

I was lucky. I went from the farm to traveling the world mostly on my own negotiating multimillion dollar deals. Then I lost it all - so if you think you have had it bad, read my story. I didn't even have clothes left in the closet I shared with a girlfriend who was keeping me from sleeping in the street.

But if I had been black or Hispanic, or a woman at that time I got my first Fortune 500 job, I would never had been given the chance --certainly not at places like the old "Brown & Root" (now KBR).  It was an all male legal department of seven for a $4 billion/year company. That opened the door for me to see up close and in person the strange behavior of conservative white guys on a global scale at billion dollar companies (the company was indicted right after they hired me and the President shot himself--it's in the book).

 I went to another global company and saw similar white executives who paid for women in as many  countries as possible, put it on their expense account -- and treated others with the same dismissive attitude, referring to Arabs as "ragheads" etc. (That is also covered in "Better Times Ahead..")

That is why the Civil Right Law makes America special.  Every man and woman of every color deserves equal treatment and respect. Let's keep it that way.  Today's whites will be tomorrow's minority so the conservatives better figure it out that making equality a key part of America's justice system is in everyone's best interest.

Better Times Ahead April Fool ends with a roadmap for America to get back to No. 1 again. It's called "Agenda for American Greatness."

Check it out and "Follow" us on Facebook for updates.




Saturday, April 5, 2014

Texas GOP RAISED This Tax You Didn't Know About- Mexico: Cigarettes Kill



Arrived Cozumel 4-4-14
What is striking about Cozumel, the popular tourist island off Southern Mexico, is how CLEAR the water is.  I wore my Earth Day Houston shirt and enjoyed a Martguerita with Laura at lunch at Ponchos on the pier. The people who went snorkeling or played with the dolphins loved it. Our dinner companions had spent the day with the dolphins, who are trained to give you a kiss and will pull you around the pool for fun.

What was surprising and interesting was the labeling on the cigarette boxes in the gift store you have to go through when you leave the ship. “Smoking Kills” in large letters on cigarette cartons not a subtle message. We bought Grand Marnier instead! THEN we get a notice that the State of Texas as of April 1 (April Fool’s joke it is NOT) that Texas imposes a tax on alcohol or cigarettes you buy in a duty free shop! They want $15 tax on that carton of cigarettes! And $3.50 for every fifth you bring into Texas from your cruise! So the GOP controlled Texas leaders are against raising taxes, eh? LOL. Not! 



The last time we were in Mexico we encountered a guide who said that the drug cartels “stay away from Cozumel because we have jobs here.”  In other words, a good economy is bad for recruiting by the cartels. Cozumel is about as safe as it gets.

A 45 minute ferry ride across the bay from Cozumel takes you to Playa del Carmen on the Mexican coast. When I saw Playa del Carmen the first time back in the 80’s it had literally two small hotels – not even three stories tall. Now, if you take a bus ride from Playa del Carmen to Cancun you see rows of tall buildings lining the road all the way to Cancun, an hour’s drive.

Mexico is actually developing more of a middle class as the the United States middle class has declined. Surprised? It did me since we think of the jobs gap in Mexico. I attribute it to the fact that the GOP has concentrated wealth at the top 1% with special tax breaks that ordinary Americans don’t get. The U.S. has becoming more like old Mexico or Russia where a few super-rich oligarchs hold a majority of the wealth and the remaining 99% have to fight over the crumbs. 

The U.S. Supreme Court just reinforced this with its latest 5-4 ruling that removes spending limits by Americas wealthiest, who can now buy elections with unlimited spending. That guarantees more favors for the 1% and guarantees the rest of us are screwed. The conservatives have tilted the table to favor the super rich, while cutting the opportunity for ordinary Americans to vote early or at all. So much for our Constitutional right to “one man one vote.” 

We need radical change in the membership of the U.S. Supreme Court – and Congress. We should consider impeaching members like Clarence Thomas. For the first time, the majority of Congress members are millionaires. So who do you think they will favor in their bills – the folks flipping burgers and working as mechanics, etc.? Not on your life is that going to happen.

Tomorrow we return to Houston and back to work. The hail and tornadoes that ripped from Texas to the Midwest is a reminder how much my Armor Glass company’s protection is needed. A couple we were having dinner with last night are real estate agents in the Dallas area. They had just sold a house and apparently the new owner told them that the hail had knocked out all the windows!

I needed this week to recharge my batteries before our busy season makes any more time off impossible. It’s time to back to “saving the world” one client at a time.

Next week: Brownsville, TX. Putting our Armor Glass security film on a office being leased by a government agency – they require blast-rated security film installed on any facility they move into. Every office and house with glass should have it since the same film protects from hurricane hits and burglars. Details at: www.ArmorGlass.com

Quick note on Malaysia 370. Let us hope the Chinese ship “pings” turn out to be the black box. This mystery has gone on too long and we need that data to find out what happened to that airplane. If it is a structural failure, it is something that must be addressed. If it was a rogue pilot or hijacking, we need to know who did it and why…At the minimum the incident has shown we need to upgrade our technology and put GPS tracers on every black box so a satellite can tell us on Day 1 where the aircraft went down instead of having these multinational searches consuming vast millions in cost. That’s stupid when we already have the technology available off the shelf!

Follow Global American Values updates on Facebook … for insights on a world Americans must know if we are to lead it.

And don't forget "Better times Ahead April Fool" is in effect.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Belize - Only English speaking country in C. America -Full of ruins, crocadiles, FUN





Arrived Belize April 3 (2014) via the Cruise ship “Carnival Magic.” My last time in the city was in the late 80’s when I was on a mission to locate seafood sources for an American buyer.  Much has changed, yet still stayed the same.



Belize is the only English-speaking country in Central and South America  (it was fought over by the British and Spanish—Brits won this one.) The Queen is on their money but they drive on the right side of the road like Americans. They use the American standard of measurements not the English metric system. In Belize City, the port city of maybe 15,000 people there are only six or seven traffic lights! Lots of “roundabout” and speed bumps which they call “sleeping policemen.”  Belize has a very LOW crime rate and a high literacy rate.

Gas costs nearly $6 a gallon and the roads were rough, but the people are intelligent, friendly and hard-working with a fun sense of humor. Laura and I took a bus to Altun Ha, the Mayan ruins they found in the jungle. They have uncovered only 13 of over 500 structures. The rest remain locked in the surrounding jungle, where toucans, iguanas, crocodiles (not alligators,) cougars and deadly snakes still reign. If you go there you will see why they have not tackled pulling the other 500 structures out of the surrounding jungle. This was a major trading center thousands of years ago.

On the top of three structures they found the remains of two men and one woman, obviously people of high importance. The presence of a woman suggests women held high status in the Mayan population.  By the way, Columbus misnamed them. When he encountered the people he asked “Who are you?” The answer was “Maya” which in the local Indian language meant “I don’t understand you.”  So miscommunication resulted in a wrong name. They are Indians and their remnants and their DNA are still here.

They guides said that it is untrue that the Mayans “disappeared.” They declined, and became a part of the other population, which included slaves brought to Belize by the British “back in the day” from a place named “Little Belize” or something like that. Because Creoles also came here, you can meet blue eyed black people who speak German. There are also a lot of Mennonites and Amish here. “Marlene” our guide said the first Indians came here from across the Bering Strait, when it was still a land bridge between the continents.

Then we rode a river boat down the Wallace River that becomes the Belize River that runs into the sea. Along the way we saw huge storks, little crocs sunning on tree stumps, iguanas sitting at the tops of trees -- even dolphins in the bay when we left the river. I took from video of the fast turns and spray the uncovered boat made in the 21 miles we went (miles, not kilometers – remember, the Belize folks use our measurement system.) When something of interest popped up they would slow down to float past an animal of interest.

Belize English is so good that the country is a call center for American countries. 88% literacy. They make sure kids get at least through high school even when the student needs a government grant to pay for a key test. Average wage is about $1.50 an hour.  No one needs health insurance because the copays are so low at the medical center (America remains about the only country in the world that does not provide medical care to its citizens.) Meanwhile I see American kids that can’t even spell and a government in Texas that doesn’t invest in our next generation.

At a resort called “The Black Orchid” we had the national dish of red beans and rice which is cooked with a seasoning mix in coconut milk, along with chicken. It was incredibly good. The local beer was also nice, but I confess that in my travels to over 50 countries I have never found a country beer to be bad (and they each seem to have one.)

My one mistake was not having a hat because the sun was a microwave after I spent hours in it. First thing I did when getting to the dock was to buy one!

Other tourists went snorkeling or tubing through the caves, which we hear was amazing. 

I encourage you to check it out. When you do it as part of a cruise you don’t have to worry about a thing – and the guides really give you a lot of details about their system while you are riding to the destination. They answered everyone’s questions. They even said that, unlike America, if you want to go jog with the President of the country, you can do that also in Belize. 

Americans need to know the world if we are to lead it. We still have people who think that it is the color of your skin that makes a difference when in fact it is the level of education that will determine the winners of the future. Americans who can’t fill the 2 million available high-tech jobs will not win the future by having kids and flipping burgers. When folks in Belize or China or India take those jobs, they become the winners of the 21st century.  Get out there and see for yourself why Americans have to upgrade our skills and our education system to get back to No. 1 again.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Obamacare Just Saved Me Thousands....only 3 days left to sign up!

Last year I had to spend over $10,000 on dental care out of pocket. That was a big hit.

Then I recently found out that the ACA (the so called "Obamacare" that strikes fear on the hearts of people who have no clue what it does) has "Dental only" plans as well as health plans. Some of the dental plans are for as little as $10 a month! Yikes!

Today I discovered that instead of paying over $625 a month as I have been for a health insurance policy for just myself (with a $10,000 deductible), I can get a silver policy that has a $3,000 deductible for $394 a month! That is HUGE.

As an entrepreneur I was not in a pool and dental and health insurance rates were too high before Obamacare changed things for the better for us little guys. The ACA has made it possible for the State Bar of Texas to offer us a pool plan as attorneys (which I still am). the bar tried 7 times before the ACA to set up a pool for attorneys in Texas, but could never do it until Obamacare took effect.

I am in a pool of 1 and have HAD to pay over $625 a month, with a $10,000 deductible! However, a friend of mine works for the state. For a family of 5, she pays only $200 a month for health insurance! Obamacare basically lets people like me go into a state pool for a lower rate--just like state employees. It makes total sense and helps the entrepreneurs and small guys.

BTW, a conservative mother I was talking to over the weekend didn't even know that she can keep her kids on their insurance until they are 26 as a result of Obamacare - and her daughter is in college!

IT IS Amazing what facts people don't know if they only listen to conservative media. I read over 20 news sources - worldwide - every day.

You cannot lead a world you know nothing about. 
The other civilized countries already provide healthcare to their citizens!

Thank you President Obama! Obama cares.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Oso, Washington.
This has to be horrible for the families, knowing their loved ones are buried under mud that is 4 stories tall in places. Some may never be found. Some people were heard yelling the first day, then became quiet. Terrible way to die.

I'd prefer to be lost at sea like those on FLT 370. But who would want to be riding in the back of a 777 and look down and see nothing but Ocean racing up to meet the plane...? It would be a quick end even if it were a controlled landing. It's been 21 days, far past anyone's ability to survive without food and fresh water if they did survive the landing.

Let's hope both groups of families get closure soon. If they find even one piece of MH370 in the Ocean we will at least have confirmed the general area it went down.
But how could it have gotten so far off course without a rogue pilot or hijacker? It was no accident. It took at least two different turns to end up that far south...

In the meantime I am glad I only have to worry about hurricanes. They are slow enough and you can see them coming...unlike tornadoes in the night or a known mudslide hazard that caught everyone by surprise.

Is Russia about to invade Ukraine? Why does it matter to Americans? Stay tuned to Global American Values and find out. Follow us on Facebook...