Wednesday, September 28, 2011
In my opinion the act should be bigger with more money invested in infrastructure spending on repairing America's 144,000 derelict bridges (some of them 80 years old!) to really get things moving in the right direction. Paul Krugman says it best: "the United States needs to spend on a scale similar to World War II in order to escape an extended economic slump."
America also needs more energy efficiency action, since that would cut peoples' energy bills and put a lot of construction type people to work.
But Obama's plan is still far better than the NO PLAN offered by the other side.
All the GOP has come up with is (1) more budget cuts - which don't put unemployed to work and (2) more tax cuts is what got us into this mess to begin with starting with the Bush tax cuts 10 years ago. Our national debt has soared ever since 2001 for that reason.
Congress needs to DO something to create jobs, not cost jobs. The obsession with cutting spending is repeating the mistake of 1937 when America was working its way out of the Great Depression. When FDR tried to cut the deficit in 1937 after several jobs programs were started, the U.S. went right back into another recession.
Are we that stupid to repeat that mistake? Have our leaders learned nothing from history?
Or is this about keeping the economy bad for the election of 2012 -- instead of doing something to help the millions of unemployed teachers, construction workers and ordinary people that want work and their government working for them?
If you agree, pass this on and contact your Congress rep - tell them to pass a Jobs Bill that creates jobs or find a new job for themselves!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
There are those out there -- too many really -- who judge people solely by the color they happen to be or the religion they choose to be.
Not me. Growing up in an open non-racist society like Iowa and traveling the world from an early age taught me something incredibly valuable. Everyone in the world is the same!
Yes, yes, we have different cultures, different languages, different sexes and different systems of government. But people everywhere that I met – from Rio to London to Beijing -- are the same.
A banana was thrown at a sports player who happened to be black at a European event. East Europe is more racist than Western Europe. After his election, I heard people use the “N word” about President Obama, America’s first black President, who was not responsible for the financial disaster he inherited. President Bush had inherited a $250 billion surplus from President Clinton. President Obama inherited a $1.2 Trillion deficit his first day on the job – facing a modern version of the Great Depression. His inherited crap and on his first day people are using the “N-word” to describe him. Then they feel they can bring down an economy rather than help him turn the ship of state around. What does that say?
I was lucky. I went from a small farm in Iowa to being sent around the world, starting with the Fortune 500 since I was a young professional – over 50 countries so far. I found over and over again that all people are the same everywhere. They want good schools and education for themselves and their children. They want opportunity. They want justice and fairness. Many of them looked up to America because they could see Americans got justice and freedoms they weren’t getting.
All of them want to be left alone from abusive government. Who wants a dictator dragging off your family and killing them? They want to practice their religion and raise their kids in a good economic environment. In short, they are just like Americans.
When we can realize that --and start focusing on how to economically win a global high tech century -- only then will America have a chance to get its mojo back again.
We need everyone in America, of all colors and religions, to be educated -- promoting the American dream into the 21st Century. If we don’t, then it is China and its system of old men denying people the right to vote that will be the only other major economic power in the world.
We have the resources to fire up a brave new century of American greatness. We must advance the skills of our people to put us on the cutting edge of technology to win the 21st century. Only then can we make the world a better place –if only we choose to do so!
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Monday, September 26, 2011
We have seen the same people, who profess to support our military, boo a member of our military (who happened to be gay).
This is not a group that represents the goodness of America. That basic goodness has always made us special in the world. America has never been a cruel and mean nation. We were founded by men fleeing cruel and mean nations. They wrote a Constitution to avoid that fate.
Do we honor them by us becoming mean and cruel?
America has always been a country of light, the one country that let the little guy make it big, to get justice in our courts. America is about freedom, respect and equality, not 'thumbs down' Romans hoping to see a person killed in the ring.
America has been the guys in the white hats -- defending the world from the black hats. We saved Europe from Nazism and its cruelty (death to you!) --ask the Jews, Poles, English, French, Norwegians, etc. We stood up to Cold War Russia.
America has always been the key country that stood for improving lives for ALL people, around the world -- not degrading them.
Maybe we should have a "(Global) American Party"! We LIKE EVERYBODY! We don't care what color you are, what religion you are. We treat people everyone with respect!
The "Global American" series (www.GlobalAmerican.org) represents the center of America - Democrats, Republicans and Independents, the rock solid center of this amazing country. We possess common sense, global experience and value vision. We are Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Nonbelievers -- and if any Martians show up we'd let them in too!
It's TIME to tune in to GLOBAL AMERICAN RADIO at www.GlobalAmerican.org
As JFK once said, we cannot win with delusional thinking; we can only win by confronting reality. That is the Global American series.
We have the ingredients for success. We just don't have the brains for it in Congress right now.
How do we find it? Tune in for the next exciting chapter in the continuing saga, on Global American radio, www.GlobalAmerican.org
Photo 2: Michael Fjetland by a sign outside the "Great Mosque of Damascus" in Syria, Dec. '96.
2011 BBC News reported tonight that reporters have been DENIED access to Syria for the last 6 months! Here is a photo of me in Damascus, Syria in December 1996 while I was negotiating an international child kidnapping case.
Why has Assad shut off Syria from the outside press? Because the Assad government doesn't want reporters filming him shooting houses with tanks. The Assad family have ruled Syria like Saddam for over 40 years. First it was the father. Now it is the evil son.
One 18-year old girl was taken away from her house by Assad's security forces as a way for them to find her brother (who was one of the protest leaders). Her body was later found in a morque by her family, without a head, or skin. The girl's hands and feet were tied.
That is the kind of beast who is running Syria in 2011.
Over 2,500 protesters have been killed by Assad in the last six months of its Arab Spring. The Syrian people are yearning for freedom and democracy. One man risked whispering a warning to the reporter before leaving, afraid to show his face. In Syria, making a free statement to a reporter that doesn't support Mr. Assad means death for that person. People are safer in Russia than Syria. Despite that, hundreds of thousands of people have gone out into the streets in protest.
The BBC news crew-the only one allowed into Syria so far -- are being watched by government "minders" -- they don't let the reporters go where they want or talk to who they want. They are "escorted" and told the "party line" - claiming the protesters murdered the girl, not Assad's goons.
The drive for freedom and democracy in the Middle East continues to grow.
Some GOOD news (but not good enough) - Saudi women have just been -- FINALLY -- given the right to vote in elections due in 2015 (the men could already vote in municipal elections). No one gets to pick the king.
But they still cannot legally drive! In Saudi in 2011, women still need the permission of a male member of the family to do almost anything. But it is the religious zealots that are keeping them from driving.
Some More GOOD GOOD NEWS --Libya's freedom fighters are finally entering Gadhafi's family stronghold. His people were told that the "rebels" were going to cut their throats. They were amazed that the rebels were nice young men who didn't hurt them. Another Gadhafi lie shown to be a lie.
Stay tuned. We are NOT OUT OF THE WOOD YET. A BIGGER threat Looms. It is a FINANCIAL THREAT - a GLOBAL one.
Europe's financial collapse could be NEXT - and near.
If it happens it WILL impact US. Even Europe doesn't have a fed...
Sunday, September 25, 2011
So I am copying the draft Prologue (to date) to give you an idea what it is about. Tell me if this is something you would want to read, especially if you could get it as an eBook for $2.99?
The neat thing about the Internet is that no one is forced to "do" anything they don't want, right? If I sent this to a friend, they would feel obligated --or put upon--to look at it. Right?
The Internet makes it all voluntary. It also provides neat solutions. The key to an eBook success is the small icon cover design. If its dull the best book won't go anywhere. Well, i discovered a site where you tell a group of designers what you want and what you'll pay, and you get a bunch to choose from. Awesome.
That is SO much better than trying to pick ONE designer who wants BIG BUCKS to do it, right?
Keep in mind that this is a draft (my esteemed editor is on vacation, so don't expect perfection. What I want is if it makes you interested in buying it and finding out more?
Better Times Ahead: April Fool?
This is a story of how the author transitioned from a farmer with nothing -- to a Fortune 500 global high flyer --- to being laid off -- and not only survived losing everything, but learned to thrive. He helped create at least one U.S. billionaire who listened to him about just one business opportunity out of many. This fast-paced book offers insight to anyone interested in surviving this tumultuous 21st Century. It begins with journal entities in faraway places like China and India before they became today’s major powers and concludes with insightful solutions to create the jobs America needs to lead the world in this inescapable global, space age economy.
It should provide uplift to those people who have been laid off or fear that it will happen to them. It's about an American who went from a small farm in Iowa to being a Fortune 500 international attorney traveling the world negotiating in 30 countries from Europe to South America to the Mideast and Asia, then was laid off during a severe recession and lost it all during the great Texas Oil Bust -- house, cars, cash, all of it.
And yet he survived and eventually began to thrive.
I am that person. My name is Michael Fjetland (“Fetland”). Unable to find a job after losing my big company job during the “Great Texas Oil Bust” with billion dollar, multinational Dresser, I became an entrepreneur and found myself doing things I never imagined before -- like conducting international kidnapping negotiations in Syria for an American girl taken to the Middle East, discovering fraud on U.S. investors while investigating a case in Europe that involved a major bank and Nigerian international criminals, rolling across primitive China in trains during the night, even running out of money in Bangkok, Thailand (and wondering how I was going to get home.)
It wasn’t an easy road, but it led to success in unique ways. I became a TV terrorism analyst on 9/11. I became a Congressional candidate against one of America’s most feared politician (and survived that too). It will tell people that anything is still possible in America, even when you have lost it all. It will give readers a vicarious time trip around the world and how failures lead to successes.
These are my stories, taken from old travel journals kept since 1980. Before being laid off, I was sent to Nicaragua just before the Reagan Contra War. I had to give up a room at the Nile Hilton for a Presidential peace mission. I was one of the first to go to China after Nixon opened its doors, representing a Fortune 500 company selling pollution control equipment.
It gives readers insight into ancient lands few Americans get to see, and how countries once behind us are passing us, and why. It has insights into today's greatest issues that impact our daily lives, our economy and our future.
Today I am CEO of a successful, profitable “green” company I founded whose products cut solar heat and protect people from burglars to hurricanes. It is one of the few things on the planet that actually pays for itself by saving energy. It is a carbon-negative product: it saves more energy than it takes to make it!
There are many people today across America, and across the world, who are going through what I have been through -- being laid off or worrying about it, and wondering “what now?” --this is an inspirational tale that life doesn’t end with a job loss. As one door closes, another opens. This is a story of surviving change.
It ends with a chapter “Agenda for American Greatness” which outlines what Americans need to do now to succeed as a people and a country in mankind’s first-ever permanently global, high tech, space-age 21st Century. It is based on my expertise having been in over 50 countries for over 30 years, beginning with the Fortune 500 – and ending up as an entrepreneur starting without a golden parachute, a silver parachute or any parachute! I tell people that I had to make a parachute out of my handkerchief on the way down.5 weeks severance pay was all I got.
It all started in the 80's during the "Big Texas Oil Bust." The unexpected life can teach us amazing things about ourselves and the world we would never have discovered otherwise…
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Why is Congress so dysfunctional that it cannot even fund FEMA to cover the costs of natural disasters such as Hurricanes IRENE and LEE?
As pointed out in this recent NY Times editorial, the situation is just ridiculous. How can America succeed in creating growth and jobs when compromise becomes a dirty word, when working across the aisle for the greater good of the American general public is considered almost an act of treason?
The root problem is how we design Congressional districts. Until we change how we carve up districts gridlock will get even worse and America will fail to win the future. Right now we aren't even winning the present!
Congress couldn't agree on solution today if a Tsunami was bearing down on Capitol Hill. In fact, an economic Tsunami has swept over the country after a decade of "borrow and spend" -- and yet there is no agreement on how to fix it and generate jobs for 14 million unemployed. How did we get in this mess?
Redistricting is the culprit. Specifically, gerrymandering districts into "safe" R or D districts did it.
Congressional districts are supposed to be "compact.' However redistricting via computers makes it easy to create strangely shaped districts that are "safe" for one or the other party. In a "safe" district the winner is not one of the two candidates chosen by voters in November; it is the winner of the party primary chosen by a small group of partisans.
Instead of being “compact” Congressional (and state) districts now look like the Loch Ness monster or pizza slices where a city like Austin, Texas -- normally a safe Democrat area -- is split into four or five districts that allow the GOP to win instead. The same "pizza" plan has split up Salt Lake City the same way.
For example in Texas, whoever wins the Republican primary in March in a safe GOP district like CD 22 will automatically win the election in November, regardless of who the Democrat is. In a "safe" Democrat district like Sheila Jackson Lee’s, it's the same result - whoever wins the Democrat party primary race will automatically win in November regardless who is the GOP candidate.
In short the November voters are too late to the party - the choice has already been made back in March. The November vote is meaningless unless it is for a state-wide seat or a Presidential pick. The more moderate November voters (be they Republican or Democrat) have been disenfranchised. In short, the vast majority of voters have been screwed out of their vote.
Therefore the "real" electoral race is the party primary race, where a small group of partisans make the choice that everyone else has to live with in November. “Safe” members of Congress can do what they want without fear of losing an election – as long as they appease the hyper- partisan primary voters! Compromise be damned!
And how do candidates win in a primary race? By running "left of left" in a Democrat district and "right of right" in a GOP district. The Republican primary challenger claims to be "more conservative than the incumbent." The Democrat primary candidates claim to be "more progressive." The result is that the winner is the more extreme -- people like Tom DeLay on one side or Dennis Kucinich on the other side, who are less likely to be willing to work across the aisle.
Like the Taliban, the members of Congress that are hanging off the wing tip on either side would rather walk on burning coals then negotiate. The 87 new GOP "tea party" members elected in 2010 are a good example. They are the ones who fought the raising the debt ceiling that lead to a first-ever U.S. debt downgrade by S&P. The result is the gridlock to the point that even funding FEMA after a natural disaster becomes a strain like climbing Mt. Everest.
In the past a President Reagan would have a drink after work with the Democrat leader Tip O'Neill - and they'd cut a deal on whatever the pressing issues were. Not today.
If doing what should be simple and routine is not possible, then how can America address the much larger issues we face with representatives in Congress who would rather throw rocks at the other side than sit down and work out solutions?
Until we fix the root of the problem and eliminate all "safe" Democrat or Republican districts -- this problem will not go away, but will get worse. Congress will fiddle while America burns.
We need a system where the moderate November voters will finally get to choose their next representative - people who are more like the moderate majority of Americans who can work across the aisle for the greater American good. In Iowa, redistricting is done by citizens, not political partisans. Why not make that the norm?
If we don't make this change now, we face another decade of Congressional paralysis that could put America where the Titanic now rests.
If you want your vote to mean something, pass this on to your friends and demand a change so your vote will count in November. Only then will American representatives have to listen to a majority of the voters instead of their small band of primary voters. Only then will Congress get back to the compromises needed to fix our problems and win the American future.
Friday, September 23, 2011
This week a six-ton NASA satellite will fall from the sky – they know not where – just about the time Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is at the UN asking them to declare Palestine a state. The negotiations between Palestinians and the Israelis predate the space age but a new situation makes it now crucial for Israel’s security that an agreement is finalized sooner rather than later.
That change is called “Arab Spring.” I was in Cairo in 1979 when the first peace treaty occurred between Israel and an Arab country – Egypt. I remember it clearly because I had to give up my hotel room for someone in President Carter’s entourage when they took over the Nile Hilton for the historic meetings between Egyptian President Sadat and Israeli PM Menachem Begin (details of the Cairo incident is in my pending eBook “Better Times Ahead: April Fool?”) You can subscribe or follow the Global American values blog below to get a publication date).
Is Rick Perry’s charge that President Obama is “appeasing” the Palestinians on point or off base? After covering the explosive Israel/Palestinian issue in segment one, we move on to discuss President Obama’s plan to “tax the rich” and review the facts of what has happened to the Middle Class in the last decade as poverty rates have soared in the U.S. to 15% (46 million people.) In Texas the poverty rate is even higher at 18%. The top 400 families in America now control more wealth than the bottom 50% of Americans! How does America “get back on track” when the Middle Class has been its greatest strength?
In segment three the issue is border security with Mexico. How safe, or unsafe, is the border? What is the root problem in Mexico that is fueling the drug violence while El Paso claims to be “the safest city in the United States?” How can we “fix” this increasingly violent mess?
Finally, how do we repair our dysfunctional government before it’s too late? Not only is it Republicans against Democrats but there are serious splits within each party. Only 50% of Republicans think favorably of the tea party. Some Democrats are distancing themselves from the President. Congress can’t even agree to fund FEMA after billions of losses caused by two hurricanes (Irene and Lee) and a drought in Texas that has resulted in $5 billion in losses. If the government doesn’t step up will each state be left to cover these losses on its own?
Perhaps if we are lucky NASA’s satellite will fall close enough to Congress to knock some sense into our politicians who either don’t remember history or are determined to repeat the mistakes made when the country was trying to pull out of the Great Depression of the 30’s.
Unless we reform the redistricting process so that there are no “safe” seats in Congress, we will keep getting hyper-partisans elected who cannot work across the aisle. Americans are paying a high price as a result -- at a time we need action instead of gridlock and talking points. “Safe” districts mean that the voters showing up in November are too late – the decision who would win a Congress seat was made by whoever won the partisan primary months earlier. This process cheats the majority of American voters who don’t vote in the primary elections. Iowa has citizens drawing Congressional boundaries, which is better than partisans with computers.
Stay tuned to Global American radio, broadcast Saturdays at 9 am Central time on Business 1110 AM, streamed on www.Business1110KTEK.com and Podcast 24/7 on www.GlobalAmerican.org (click “Favorite program” and look for the above title).
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