Friday, June 21, 2013

Goodbye Paula Dean. Bigotry is never justified, especially when its so casual.

Goodbye Paula Dean.
Bigotry is never justified, especially when its so casual. Judging people by their color instead of their character is beyond ignorant - its not even justified. I know.

I have met people from around the world, a lot of them a lot smarter and nicer than Paula Dean...I describe them in my just released eBook "Better Times Ahead April Fool." I talked to Christians in the Middle East, Chinese who now lead us with the fastest computer in the world (because Congress has failed to invest), people in Brazil - which is now in protests over the worst inequality in the world, etc...
P.S. Paula - Fried food will block your arteries and kill you! Don't let the screen door hit you on the fanny on the way out the TV door...America needs role models who value the American value of equality...that we are all the same and have the right to be treated equally with others.
In Rio, like what has happened in the last 30 years, the benefits went to the super-rich, and the country suffered - as it is today. That's why there are MILLIONS of people on the streets! BILLIONS for a Stadium for 2014 Soccer but NOTHING for the vast majority who need jobs, healthcare, EQUALITY...
Excerpt from "Better Times Ahead April Fool" 
"The sheer beauty of Rio de Janeiro on the coast of Brazil is one of the things we need to see.  Mountains rise from the sea behind high-rise condos and office buildings. I went down on my first trip sometime in 1980, taking off from Miami. The first interesting thing is that the 8-to-10-hour trip is mostly south so your body doesn’t travel through 6 or 7 time zone changes like it does when you fly east towards Europe, or the 13-hour difference and the international dateline which causes you to lose a day going west towards Asia.  Rio is four hours ahead of U.S...."

Thursday, June 20, 2013

IOWA has citizens do the redistricting - and it works. Can we make this the Texas Rule?

The Texas Legislature today has been arguing over Redistricting - even changing the Maps the Governor said should be approved without change. The fact is the new lines should have favored Hispanics instead of three more Grump Old White Guys who think legitimate rape is a verb.

IOWA has citizens do the redistricting - and it works. Can we make this the Texas Rule?

Gerrymandered districts leaves us with the worst of candidates - the most extreme instead of the most centrist that appeals to a majority instead of a small primary group.
I approve this message...i discuss it after describing several runs for Congress against the most feared (at the time) notorious Majority Leader in Congress...Tom DeLay. 
It concludes with how to fix our political system where people pick their reps instead of reps drawing their own districts...

Monday, June 17, 2013

finalizing my next book - this one on a technology few know about that saves lives and energy ...

I opted out of philosophical tailing chasing debates on FB today and worked on finalizing my next book - this one on a technology few know about that saves lives and energy - pays for itself. What else you have does that?

It will be a FREE book, with LOTS of Photo Illustrations (just like "Better Times Ahead: April Fool" - a photo can speak more than ten thousand words...). It's in a rough PDF format if anyone is interested in a peek, let me know I can will email it to you.

I love how eBooks make publishing and information sharing SO much EASIER.  ePublishing levels the playing field to give the small person a chance to be heard - not just the big name authors that publishers rely on for print editions.

Now publishing is open to ANYONE in America - or the world -- instead of the select few who could get a book printed in the "old days." Here is what I discovered about the long, complicated process to get into print before digital publishing came along. It wasn't that long ago but the change has been revolutionary.

In 1989 I was unemployed (actually "self employed" at that time was the same as being unemployed during the Great Texas Oil Bust of the mid-80's).  Since I had no ability to go anywhere and plenty of time to kill I decided not to waste it on TV but try to write a fiction book about what it was like being an international legal negotiator (like I had been doing for the Fortune 500).

All I needed was a plot. My plot turned out to be prophetic, but that didn't mean it would be published. Read on.

Being broke,  I was sitting in my apartment with an old IBM computer with probably the first "Word" program ever written. My book was a fictional "Fire Over Arabia" --the plot line was a flash war in the Middle East and a attempted terror attack on Washington DC by a Middle East group (Saddam was my bad guy, since Al Qaida didn't exist then).

When I was 150 pages into making up a storyline for "Fire Over Arabia" I was working on a chapter about my character --an international lawyer of course --being caught up in a war that breaks out around him while doing a oil deal in Iraq.  Then in reality, the TV news broke that Saddam had invaded Kuwait! Because of that book and my prior Middle East experience, I went on the local Fox station in 1991 as their Middle East expert (some of the clips are on YouTube under my name).

Two years later in 1993 was the first bombing of the World Trade Center - killed 6. The second part of my "fiction" book had become fact in two years. So "Fire Over Arabia" should be published right away, right? Not so.

After the Gulf War I set out to sell my fictional "Fire Over Arabia" - to which I had added a new subtitle "The Revenge of Saddam."  Here is what publishing was like then in the dark "old" days.

First I had to find an agent - specifically an agent that did the type of book I was trying sell. That took forever - and meant searching through books and writing actual letters with correct postage - no email existed then! Once i found an agent (who was legitimate and not someone taking an advanced fee), it was time to search for a publisher.

Again, not easy because publishers also specialize and you have to pick the right one, and that publisher wants a winner book to justify spending hard cash in year-long process-- and kill a bunch of trees-- to print it and truck them to thousands of bookstores nationwide where it would have to compete with all the other stuff on their shelves. If it doesn't sell, they are stuck.

To my amazement we did find an interested publisher, except for one thing. The publisher said: "Its an interesing book, but Saddam will be gone within a year, so we don't want to take the chance publishing it." So "Fire Over Arabia" was never published. I did send it to the Library of Congress, back when you had to do that to secure a copyright. Saddam remained in power another 10 years!

Today, anyone can publish an eBook without an agent or the blessing of the publisher. I am an author on one of the biggest bookstores of the world, Amazon. As well as Barnes & Noble. My book is in the Ipad store on Lulu. I got there via ePublishing - and no gatekeeper says "no" if the book meets their format requirements.

When I finished writing my true global adventure story eBook "Better Times Ahead April Fool" I paid an editor to correct the grammar and spelling: I paid a different person to put it into HTML format for Amazon and another for Barnes & Noble and Apple. In the updated Photo edition, she worked photos into the book.

Then I paid a cover designer for the artwork. I used a service where people submitted their designs - I picked the winner, who got paid the fee. I did this because if you don't do a good job on it, the risk of it looking like garbage is YOURS, not theirs.

So, I will be doing it again, publishing a Free eBook that explains the technology my company Armor Glass provides. It's a tool to illustrate and explain its application and uses far better than I can do one-on-one. Coming soon. It should be under 100 pages with photos.

 If you want to stay up on developments on this and other critical issues of the day impacting us Global Americans with values, click "Subscribe" or "Follow"...

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Last Boom: Fracking. & Texas Lack of Solar Farms

I just got back from a few days in and around Odessa, Texas - which is in the latest oil boom due to fracking. It will be their last boom. In the meantime, good luck finding a house to buy or an affordable apartment to rent. People are calling and demanding the right to move in within 10 days of a seller selling it. There is no room at the inn. Traffic is full of trucks and deadly accidents occur almost daily.

A friend of mine has gone into the oil business and I learned some interesting things from him. A lot of the oil wells have gone dry. Fracking is bringing in shale gas but it requires massive amounts of water - in a dry land that is running out of water. A small town near Odessa has run dry. Odessa itself has started a program that will recycle waste water - yep, today's toilet water will be tomorrow's drinking water.

It will be the last oil boom before its all gone. I don't see them developing alternatives - although just over the horizon sit the Wind Turbines on Mesas that line Highway 385 that runs north of I-10. Giant electric lines are being strung from those West Texas Mesas along I-10 towards San Antonio and Houston/Dallas.

I found out fro my friend that if the oil that is pumped shows up with more than 1% water or other substances in it, it is rejected. Then the companies have to turn it over to another company to "fix" it. A whole new industry is growing to clean up this oil. Water is a key resource and is being recycled more and more. Companies are now focusing on finding ways to clean water before re-injecting it back into a well. If the water has algae or contaminants in it, the well will have corrosion problems.

It is evident that Texas needs to diversify NOW - soon the latest oil "boom" will turn into a "bust" like many we have seen before. Oil has been around 100 years. It took millions of years to form. When its gone, its GONE. Same for our water, which we are pumping from aquifers too fast and our Governor Perry just vetoed a bill that would study these aquifers and their reserves.

When that happens, millions of Texans will get hurt unless we manage our dwindling resources better -- and begin developing alternative energy sources like solar energy to help Texas supply our peak energy demands during the hot summer afternoons.

Yet Texas is not actively authorizing solar farm projects. The Governor is refusing to focus on water conservation - we can save more water than we can make. We have to do better in this high tech, global 21st century to stay ahead of the next economic hurdles coming our way.

Without water we are in trouble - and Texas is running out! Without more diverse energy supplies and clean power plants, we will have Texas blackouts. I don't see our Governor and top leadership responsibility preparing us for a world without oil and water.

Iran Election: Proof We are ALL THE SAME. Even the Extremists are the same...

Now that I've met people in nearly 50 countries, it is clear that ALL PEOPLE ARE THE SAME. Even the Extremists are the same. Iran just threw us a big curve by electing a moderate after eight years of an ultra-conservative.

All people I've met worldwide want basically the same thing.  They want OPPORTUNITY for themselves. They want EDUCATION for their children. They want A JOB, not a handout. And they want to be left alone by their government -- and their neighbor.  They want JUSTICE and equally. They want respect.

The Extreme of EVERY Group are also, ironically, the same -- whether they are Muslim, Christian or Jewish (or even people like Tim McVeigh). It applies to both religious and political groups. Every one of them are INTOLERANT of everyone outside their small circle. 

It is the Extremists in each religion or group who favor violent speech or violent behavior, whether its IED's, shooting kids or trash talk radio hosted by people who demonize entire groups because of their culture, their sex, their color or their religion.

What do the Ultraorthodox Jews in Israel have in common with the Taliban?  Neither like women mixing with men -- the Taliban don't want women and girls getting an education. The Ultraorthodox Jews have been known to scream at girls for the way they are dressed going to school and insist they sit in the back of the bus and walk only on certain sides of the street.

Christian Extremists are just as intolerant. The Westboro Baptists are angry at gays so they hurl insults at the funerals of our soldiers and first responders. They condemn people who have nothing to do with gays. Sound similar? Sound crazy? Not a representative example?

How about the Southern Baptists, a huge group who claim to follow Jesus, condemning the Boy Scouts, the Boy Scouts! Why? For allowing scouts who are gay to join or stay in!  How horrible! Condemning a kid simply because  he or she has a different sexual preference. We just saw on TV a little boy named Sebastian in San Antonio being insulted by bigots angry at his color and his costume. Their biased eyes closed their ears to his magical singing. I thought Jesus was supposed to be a lesson in accepting and helping the least among us instead of finding groups to condemn?

Intolerance is the common bond of all extremists.

Rush Limbaugh calling a law student  "a slut" is no better or worse than an Ultraorthodox Jew in Israel ranting at a secular girl's dress on her way to school. A Taliban bombing a school is no worse than a kid shooting up another elementary school with the same type of assault weapon the Taliban use.

The good news is that moderates who are the majority of Americans--and in countries around the world that I have seen over the past 30 plus years.

And it is the moderates who just made a major WIN IN IRAN after eight years of ultraconservative Ahmadinejad. Many Americans may think that is a crazy statement. That's because they have not been in the countries and seen what I have seen.

Proof that the people of Iran are more moderate than radical I give you the evidence of today's election in IRAN of a MODERATE instead of another firebrand Conservative. Here is a link to the story: 

American justice has always been special because it has attempted to treat all parties the same. Whether big or small. It doesn't always turn out that way, but it is far better than the lack of justice in many countries where the rich buy the judges and the justice. Justice is only meted by moderates, not extremists.

I hope we see a new era in Iran. It was young people and women who voted for Mr. Rowhani. I had a close encounter with Iran when I was offered a job working on a naval base my company was building in Iran for the 1979. I barely avoided being put on a barge a step ahead of Khomeini's revolutionaries who overthrew the Shah. The story of that strange tale, with photos, is in my new eBook "Better Times Ahead April Fool."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Syria's Red Line & NSA Leaker in Hong Kong My View from Inside Syria & Hong Kong

President Clinton was recently recorded at a private event saying that President Obama would "look like a fool" if he did nothing about Syria - as Iran and Hezbollah are winning against the rebels trying to oust Assad. Now it appears the U.S. will start arming the rebels, but don't expect boots on the ground (think Bosnia).
 Above: Michael Fjetland at the Great Mosque, Damascus, Syria
Above: Michael Fjetland at Hong Kong - Gateway to China. It's just a short ride away.

I saw Syria from the inside during Assad's fathers reign. My new eBook has photos I took of the country while in a child kidnapping case (ironically, the child was 70 years away in Lebanon but the father was in Damascus and we could not legally go into Lebanon at that time).

And NSA leaker of classified information, Edward Snowden, is now holed up in Hong Kong after releasing NSA records of its spy programs on China, etc. My eBook shows the inside workings on how one slips from Hong Kong - which has an extradition treaty with the U.S. --into China which does not have such a treaty. I have done it.

Get an insight into these different worlds that impact America's future in "Better Times Ahead April Fool."

The book ends with SOLUTIONS for America's future success - in "Agenda for American Greatness."

"Better Times Ahead April Fool"

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

TURKEY: Battle between Erdogen's "Moderate Islam" and 90 years of Secular Turkey

As I write this, tear gas canisters are being thrown by a massive police force against secular protesters in Istanbul--a sign that freedom from religion is under attack in Turkey, the historic dividing line between Europe and Asia.

All this started because one man decided to destroy Istanbul's last green space and historic park and turn it into a shopping center -- no public input allowed. People flocked to the park to protect the trees and their one communal green spot.

For the past 90 years, Turkey has been a secular country, free of religious dominance. Young Muslims were free to dress modern, drink alcohol, and mingle freely with the opposite sex -- just like in America.

After being elected as Turkey's leader a few years ago, Mr. Erdogen has been more dictatorial as he has tried to move away from secularism to make Turkey a "moderate" Islamic country. That means no more alcohol sales; it means new dress codes for women. IT MEANS basically the end of a lifestyle that many Americans take for granted today (despite the press story of the day) that have been the norm in Turkey for almost a 100 years.

Before this started, I booked a trip with my partner that includes stops in Turkey in November - December of 2013. It reminds me of the time I went to Syria on a child kidnapping case, and we see what is now happening in Syria today. Turkey may be about to see its own Arab Spring.

Photos I took of old Syria are in my new eBook "Better Times Ahead April Fool"
Included are photos of Syria I saw in the late 90's under Assad's father vs Syria 2013. But its more than just Turkey and Syria. Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Egypt -- all are starting to get sucked into a religious ware between Muslims (Shia vs. Sunni), with Israel in the Middle. It is all starting to look very weird in the Middle East.

You will also find my own odd Middle East experiences in the book -- to give you a clue what we are facing....That would be pointless unless the book ends with SOLUTIONS, and it does in "Agenda for American Greatness" in the final chapter.
Better Times Ahead? Or April Fool? The choice is up to us, more than you know...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

All of us humans on this one blue planet for light years in any direction all share the same desire –

I am in San Antonio - LOVE this city! It's a good stopping point between far West Texas and Houston. Got some great video/photos of wind turbines, oil jacks, etc - the old and the new next to each other. Will try to post later. Got Mexican food on the brain right now! Yum!

People need to realize that we are all alike. All anyone wants is to be treated with respect.  Just about all trouble in our lives comes when people fail to do that.  So chill out and be nice to others. It’s contagious. Be nice and you will be amazed how many people are nice back. Be a bitch or a bastard and don’t be amazed how many people don’t want to see you ever again.
In every one of the nearly 50 countries I’ve been to date, I have treated people with respect – and they have always treated me the same. I have found people worldwide to be extremely courteous and helpful.
It is the Americans who don’t travel who don’t know this –ignorance breeds fear. They fear those they have never met. 
I have met them. Worldwide. For over 30 years. And I can tell Americans, based on personal knowledge, that we are more alike then they can imagine. They need to go see for themselves. Extremists are a tiny fraction of any country or religion. Their bite far exceeds their numbers.  I can say that having been in countries like Syria, Egypt, Pakistan, etc.
Don’t let hate blind you to the reality that all of us humans on this one blue planet for light years in any direction all share the same desire – to be left in peace, have job opportunities and education for their children.That’s it. 

People are not greedy. Unlike vested interests that want to keep the majority for themselves and choke off that innovative entrepreneur or idea that they fear – like the carriage industry fearing the automobile…
See for yourself in my personal story from journals I kept traveling the world the last 30 years – from high to low…from richer to definitely poorer – and back to prosperity. It’s all in…
“Better Times Ahead April Fool”