Saturday, December 14, 2013
America MUST become a just country - the world has always looked up to us when so many of them did NOT have social justice.
The GOP has been taking that away. I should know, I have been in their primaries and saw it up close.
I had enough of the GOP extremism (to win the primary requires running to the right of right) which got worse in 2010 with the tea party and its empty-minded mongering, so I joined what I call "the human party" --the Democratic Party. Actually i started with the Democrats in 1972 at UT Austin. Voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, Helped John Glenn in 1984. '
According to Leticia Van de Putte, we will need some GOP votes from moderates for them and us to win in November 2014. I can help due to my history.
I have lived in Amarillo, Plainview, Lubbock, Austin, Houston - and worked everywhere else. BBA Accountin UT, JD with honors Texas Tech. Adviser for Center for International Business at Texas A&M for 18 years. Adjunct Professor at HCC at one point. Volunteer pilot for Civil Air Patrol (search and rescue for US Air Force).
Please share my new Facebook page and website.
This is not about me. It's about making America No. 1 again in the inescapable high-tech, space age global economy we now live in and must compete in. It is a must for our children as much as ourselves.
I have a written "Agenda for American Greatness" to make that happen -- the only candidate who has a plan suited for this international world. The Chinese –now the No. 2 economy in the world -- can actually afford their military expenditures. Since the Bush tax cuts ours requires 40% borrowed money, from China!
I have personally seen China go from a bicycle economy when I first went there on negotiations in 1982 -- to going back in 2012 and riding the fastest train in the world (all documented with photos I took over 30 year. There are in a book I wrote "Better Times Ahead April Fool." It is my memoir and a true story of farm to flying the world, to getting laid off and having to re-invent to carry on. It led to my becoming a TV Terrorism Analyst and founding a company that grow 500% despite the worst economy in 70 years. I made the last chapter “Agenda for American Greatness” FREE at the book website.
Reinvention applies to countries and people. Our country needs it right now...details at www.FjetForSenate.com
If you can donate something, great. If not, please VOTE for me Michael Fjetland (pronounced "Fetland"). In law school my nickname was "F-Jet") in the March 4, 2014 Democratic primary.
Please share this with your friends and ask them to do the same with their friends (heck, share it even with your enemies - improving our economy is good for all!)
I need your help to put us back on top, globally.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Michael Fjetland "Fjet" at Roman Colosseum, December 2013
33 years after first encounter around 1980
Today was the last day to file for office for 2014. Whoever is in, is in -- we now know the players.
I am the ONLY candidate who has an written economic plan - which I call "Agenda for American Greatness." It is a plan for all Americans, who have to win in a global economy that is rapidly changing. Being a Senator is not a job for amateurs who don't know what America is up against globally. Filling teeth or selling millions of cars doesn't give one the insight I obtained from 30-plus years in nearly 50 countries -- helping Americans succeed and create jobs here by selling American goods worldwide.
As soon a jet lag subsidies I will begin sharing details on what I discovered in Europe that impacts America - with my plan to get America back to No. 1 in technology and jobs. My platform includes real immigration reform to honor the service of our hardworking Hispanics and dreamers, treating women and LGBT equally and legalizing marijuana for medical and personal use. Legalization would generate billions in new taxes for states like Texas, which could be used for education, etc. (Legalization would also cut billions in profits now going to Mexico drug gangs who use it to buy heavy weapons and murder tens of thousands of citizens.) My terrorism expertise would also benefit the U.S. Senate.
Follow this blog and sign up at www.FjetForSenate.com for updates - and if you like what you see, let your friends know - and pass the word to help in any way they can - and by voting for me in the Texas Democratic Primary on March 4, 2014. Donations of any kind can make this work for the 99%.
Pass it on!
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Nelson Mandela: A Giant Without an Heir
When I was a young attorney for a Fortune 500 company I was told I needed to go to South Africa and to get a visa. It was around 1980 and Apartheid was the rule – a white minority controlled the government and was brutally suppressing the majority black population. I didn’t want to go and supported sanctions against the country.
Fortunately the trip never happened. Later, went to Nigeria as an entrepreneur, I tore the South Africa visa page out of my passport. In 1986, it would have gotten me in a lot of trouble in Nigeria. Luckily they never noticed the missing page.
Cape Town, S. Africa street
Michael Fjetland, in front of "Blue Train"
I was fortunate enough to see South Africa in the late 90’s a couple of years after Nelson Mandela had become its first black President in 1994 – just four years after being released from 27 years in prison. I found a fascinating country of contrasts. I rode the famous “Blue Train” from Cape Town on the southern tip of the continent to Johannesburg. We passed what looked like gravel piles – which were tailings from numerous gold mines.
It is a beautiful country, which I describe (along with Nigeria etc.) in my photo illustrated ebook “Better Times Ahead April Fool” www.BetterTimesAheadAprilFool.com Some of the whites I met were quite open to having Mandela as President. I found others to be quite the opposite. In fact, I remember taking a picture of a Shell gas station a couple blocks away. Then I drove my rental car a couple of blocks and stopped at a stop sign. A white couple drove up next to me and demanded to know “why I had taken their photo.” I had no idea any people were in the picture since I was so far away. They even got my license plate number and later that night called my room to harass me.
My purpose in South Africa was to interview people who wanted to immigrate to the U.S. After meeting them, I decided that we had enough bigots in the U.S. and I was not interested in adding any more. I wrote off the trip and didn’t sign up any clients. The one client I did have from South Africa, a white couple, ended up defrauding my bank out of a huge sum of money, so it confirmed what I thought. I did meet some young whites in South Africa who were not racists, but they seemed to me the minority.
We lost a giant when Mr. Mandela died. After 27 years in prison he could have easily been vindictive. He could have called for violence against a brutally racist regime. But like Martin Luther King, he rose above the base instincts and called for “reconciliation” in which both sides offered apologies and amends for their past acts of violence against each other. Mandela could have served for life but left office after a single 5-year term.
The world, and South Africa, has no one like him as a political heir. “AFRICA is failing to set its own terms for tackling security challenges and economic development on the continent, with a lack of adequate leadership evident in its response to both Libya and Mali,” said former South African president Thabo Mbeki.
China has passed the U.S. as South Africa’s biggest trading partner. Major challenges remain in a country where English is commonly spoken. It is unfortunate that there isn’t another Mandela to carry on – the new leaders like current President Zuma have been spending billions on themselves, building huge estates and giving jobs to those who are loyal party members. Mandela would never have allowed such a thing.
I hope for the best for this amazing country now that its version of our George Washington is gone. Nelson Mandela was a giant Redwood. His departure leaves a huge void in a vital country that accounts for 80% of the industrial might of the continent of Africa. We can only pray that his legacy has planted a seed so that another wise, humble giant will rise to take his place.
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Fjetland for U.S. Senate
Thursday, December 5, 2013
This morning as our ship was approaching Naples, Italy, we heard the sad news: Nelson Mandela has died. We have lost a giant. Since we are seven (7) hours ahead of U.S. central time, most Americans won’t get the news until the morning of December 6. Or...it happened as I slept: time zones are funny things.
I had the privilege of visiting South Africa a couple years after Mandela became South Africa’s first black President – after decades of a horrible apartheid system that treated blacks as second class citizens, and worse. I wrote about it in my book “Better Times Ahead April Fool” www.BetterTimesAheadAprilFool.com
I found it to be a fascinating country of contrasts.
We will be out all day today and will write more about this remarkable man tonight after we return. From here its back to Rome, then coming back to the USA via Amsterdam on Monday…
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Traveling internationally has trained me to think ahead and see what our competitors are doing. You have to be prepared when you are halfway around the world. Forgetting a document or an adapter is trouble. Being on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea, away from local U.S. news of car wrecks and shootings, also gives you valuable information most Americans don’t get in our media.
American success over the last century was based on our education, infrastructure and technology leadership. Both are now in jeopardy as a result of policies by Republican leadership that has allowed other countries to take the lead in the inescapable global economy in which we must compete. This trend has jeopardized our national security and future.
For example, the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) just released the latest test reports of 15-year olds around the world. The top five countries are all in East Asia. They are as follows:
No. 1 – China
No. 2 - Hong Kong
No. 3 – Singapore
No. 4 – Japan
No. 5 – South Korea
The U.S. ranking? No. 36!
BBC World News did a report I saw on the ship on how South Korean kids compete. They attend regular classes, and then go to a second school – for a total of 13 hours a day! Many of them don’t get home until 11 p.m. at night, study until 2 a.m. then get up at 6 a.m. to do it all over again.
I am not saying our kids need to be in school until 11 p.m. but it is evident that our system needs more investment. It is still geared towards a time when most kids lived on farms a hundred years ago and went to school part-time. Children are out of school by 3:30 and are home alone or playing sports or video games while most parents work until 5. Summers mean endless video games and movies while kids elsewhere are studying math and science.
Singapore, for example, continued to invest in education even when the 2008 recession hit – unlike Texas which cut over $5 billion from the Texas education budget, despite adding 70,000 new students every year. It was the first time that our leaders didn’t give education what it needed. Instead, they got what the legislature felt it could “afford.” This is one of the reasons why the U.S. has a low OECD rating and a skills gap – over 2 million high- tech, high-paying jobs that Americans are not qualified to fill, but workers educated in China and India are. This is not acceptable. We should improve our training and education so Americans can fill those jobs instead of shipping them overseas or filling them with foreign workers.
This downward trend in education started in 2000 under the Bush administration. At the time the U.S. was No. 1 in education. But Republican leadership nationally and in Texas has let us decline sharply since then. They have refused to back President Obama’s initiatives to advance our research and development and infrastructure rebuilding that we desperately need to get our country back to No. 1 and create the jobs millions of Americans need.
Senator Cornyn has been part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Senator Cruz is no better – claiming access to health care is a “job killer” when Texas has one in four residents who are uninsured, the highest in the United States. The GOP has been a giant job killing machine, giving deductions to ship jobs overseas. Denying Americans healthcare does nothing to advance our country when most countries provide healthcare as a right instead of a privilege. Their citizens don’t go bankrupt because they got sick.
Apparently these Republican senators apparently feel that education is a privilege instead of a right that our economic success is built on. But then, many of them attended expensive private schools while gutting investment in America’s public school system. I went to public schools which serve the vast majority of Texans.
I invite you to read my platform “Agenda for American Greatness” that will help America regain its No. 1 status in education, jobs and technology.
Please “share” -- and sign up at the website for updates.
If you can, donate something to help me replace Senator Cornyn with someone dedicated to helping ordinary Texans achieve great things in this 21st century global economy.
Fjet for U.S. Senate
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Turkey: Where East Meets West
We landed in Istanbul yesterday on a cold, rainy day after a stop in Ephesus. Istanbul is where “east meets west” since part of the city is in Europe and part is in Asia. The Bosporus River splits the city between the continents.
If you study the Bible, you know about Ephesus. It is where St. John came along with the Virgin Mary to spend their last days. We saw the ruins of his basilica located on a hill and where he was buried. He wrote his Bible book there. At the ruins there is also a mosque on the hill below it, and a pagan temple below that. At the house where the Virgin Mary lived, you can make a wish and post it on a wall. Few Americans know that Muslims respect both Mary and Jesus–and all the prophets from Christianity and the Torah (so the guide said at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.) I will post photos when I am not on a ship since the satellite uploads are SLOW.
You cannot lead a world you know nothing about, and I am learning much from this trip. Gasoline costs over $10 a gallon here – more than in Norway. We found the prices the same in Greece and Italy. The gas tax in Turkey is 100% -- so it would still be $5 a gallon without a tax. Over 80,000 ships a year pass through the Bosporus – compare that to the 6,000 ships a year that visit the Port of Houston.
Although Turkey is 99% Muslim, it has been a secular country. There are 2,000 mosques in Istanbul. Many of the women dress western style; some wear more traditional clothes or just a headscarf. The average wage is $10,000 a year, yet apartments in Istanbul are expensive. Those along the river cost from $3 million to $7 million dollars. The problem here is that the Prime Minister has been trying to make Turkey more Islamic and conservative – but the young people want nothing to do with it. And over half the population is under 25.
Austerity has hit countries like Italy and Greece hard. Part of the problem in Greece is a generous pension system that let people retire at 52. That problem is made worse by the failure of many to pay taxes – especially the rich.
We have the same problem in the USA – where major corporations can make billions and pay zero taxes (like GE), leaving us with chronic deficits. As a former international attorney, I know that they hide money overseas in places like the Caymans and Switzerland. We need to eliminate these tax loopholes in order to get our fiscal house in order. Since the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 (which Sen. Cornyn voted for,) our budget has had a 40% shortfall while we spend more in defense than the rest of the world COMBINED!
Turkey is not part of the European Union, so its trade is not limited by EU rules. The unemployment is about 10-15%. It is now big into organic farming. The Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is amazing – over 4,000 shops under one roof. The people are very friendly and the vendors are aggressive. Negotiation is a way of life here – never pay the asking price for anything. Walking away is a way to determine if they will lower the price again. If you have hit rock bottom the vendor is silent. If not, you will get a better offer.
I haven’t been online much since Internet cost 40 cents a minute on the ship – and that is the best rate. Pay-as-you-go is 75 cents a minute. Next stop in three days is Naples, Italy.
In the meantime, if you want to know how America gets back to being No. 1 in the world, read my FREE book chapter of “Agenda for American Greatness” at this link. As I said, we lead a world we know nothing about. If Sen. Cruz thinks killing Obamacare will promote “growth” I have news for him – he hasn’t got a clue. And he hasn’t got a plan either. I do – it’s in Agenda for American Greatness. If you elect me, I will do my best to implement it in a capitol that belongs to the lobbyists that only want tax loopholes that citizens never get.
Remember Proverbs: “Where There is No Vision, the People Perish.”