Friday, August 26, 2011

Could IRENE Give USA the Economic Kick it Needs?

It's entirely possible IRENE could generate a building boom that would lower unemployment and make the tea party argument about not spending money (austerity) look stupid. Hurricane IKE created tons of jobs and reconstruction work in Houston. Now the same thing could occur along the entire east coast.

In short, Hurricane IRENE it could be our modern day equivalent of a WWII economic boost (which required so much spending that it finally ended the depression) as we rebuild communities along the east coast damaged by it.

Prediction: IRENE could be a gift to the President who needs an economic miracle after inheriting a nightmare financial situation on his first day on the job.

What Republican would oppose federal spending to rebuild his community after being savaged by IRENE?

“All Shook Up” from Hurricane Irene to Gadhafi

Global American Series

26 August 2011

Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the east coast, threatening over 60 million people who were already shaken by a rare Earthquake a few days ago. Before Irene, the U.S. has had nine extreme weather events that cost over $35 billion. Irene, the first storm to hit the U.S. since Hurricane IKE hit Houston, could equal that.

What do they need to do to prepare? How would we cover these disaster costs if the U.S. had a balanced budget requirement? We cover hurricane survival in our first segment on Global American radio.

Also shaking things up in the GOP Presidential race is Texas Governor Rick Perry, now leading Mitt Romney in recent polls. In his book “Fed Up!” published just nine months ago, the Governor made from startling calls for changes in the American constitution. One of them: that social security in his opinion is “unconstitutional.” We cover some of his positions and look at the Texas budget and economy in our second segment.

The manhunt for Col. Gadhafi, the terrorist bomber of Pan Am 103 who Ronald Reagan called “the mad dog of the Middle East” is in our third segment on Global American radio. Who are the rebels fighting him? What happens next in Libya? Why have both the far left and far right been hostile to U.S. action in Libya, and were they wrong to oppose this action?

“How to Get More Jobs in America” is the focus of our fourth segment. How do we generate jobs without amassing more debt? We talk about one strategy – weatherization-- that would both cut our energy consumption and employ large numbers of Americans. It would also provide storm protection.

Global American radio airs Saturday at 9 am Central time on Business 1110 am, streamed on and Podcast 24/7 on (click on ‘favorite programs’ and look for the above title).

Michael Fjetland

Global American Series

Sponsored by Armor Glass International, Inc.

With our protection on your windows you can sing “Goodnight Irene”…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Better Times Ahead: Uplift for the Those Unemployed (or Fear it)

Working on my book - got to finish! It's been in draft for 20 years. Problem is that new chapters keep coming up.

My book should provide uplift to those people who have been laid off or fear it happening to them. It's about a person who went from a farm to a Fortune 500 international attorney job traveling the world negotiating in 30 countries from Europe to South America to the Mideast and Asia, even on the Concorde -- then got laid off 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. I now own a 'green' company that is doing very well financially, providing a security technology that pays for itself and protects people at the same time.

The book is based on journals I wrote in faraway places going back to 1980 - to give readers insight and commentary on today's greatest issues, which are our economy and staying ahead of the global competition! And the saying is true: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

I was lucky. I went from a farm to traveling to countries worldwide as a young international legal negotiator for large companies. I saw things few people get to experience.

It led to unimagined adventures. After the Fortune 500 lay off, I took an entrepreneur's gamble on a trip to old China – traveling on a night train, seeing the beginning of its miracle march to modernization. I ran out of money on a trip in Asia while in Bangkok. I did an international child kidnapping negotiation in the Middle East, in Syria (the same place in the news today).

I discovered a multimillion dollar fraud on American investors on a trip to Europe by suspected Nigerians -- and had to go undercover not knowing if they would “take me out.” I helped sons of an American man killed on an oil rig off the coast of Africa collect damages. I was a TV terrorism analyst on 9/11. I was even a Congressional candidate against one of America’s most feared politicians (and survived that too).

In 2010, we elected Congressman who had never been off the farm, or out of places like Frog Jump, Arkansas, who didn't even know what a Blackberry was! Can you imagine less informed representatives making decisions for the United States of America?! That's like passengers picking as their pilot some guy who has never flown a 747! No wonder why we are in trouble.

I give you an example why that's important. Despite my having negotiated in about 50 countries (not as a tourist or a politician on a junket where you see very little of the real world), when I went to Norway for the first time in May 2011, I had NO idea what it would be like! Despite what I read I had no idea of the real Norway until I got there. I saw so much more than what I read. Even then, and despite my experience on 9/11, I was shocked by the shooting rampage.

So who is going to be a better representative? The person who no idea what a Blackberry is until he shows up as a Congressman --or someone who has global and technical experience and insight?

This former Congressional candidate wonders why Americans in Congress just wasted a month on a bizarre debt debate that lowered our credit rating for the first time ever, instead of finding a solution for filling the 3 million American jobs that need workers but remain unfilled because we don't have people with the skills! Why aren't they addressing that?

These are here-and-now jobs waiting for an American with the skills, not some future jobs. They either remain vacant, hurting our economy, or they will go to a foreigner with the skills! Why aren't we tackling this training gap issue with a joint solution?

Companies won't provide the training because they are afraid the workers will leave for a competing job for higher pay once they have the training. So then what? You don't expect a broke, unemployed worker to pay for it, do you?

I'm thinking of releasing my book as an e-book instead of a printed book. Did you know that a majority of book sales now are eBooks? Yep. They have passed printed books in sales. What do you think?

The working book title: "Better Times Ahead: April Fool?" It comes from a sign like that I once saw in India, ironically just before a lay off from the Fortune 500. It was the beginning of interesting times...

I added the "?" mark - because the answer depends on us, and whether we make decisions based on facts and logic instead of voodoo economics and false assumptions.

It all started in the 80's during the "Big Texas Oil Bust" (one of many)…

Friday, August 12, 2011

What Were You Doing on 9/11? My Story

The tenth anniversary of 9/11 is coming and the LA Times is asking people what they were doing that day. This is my story:

I was home getting ready for the day when I heard a second plane had hit a World Trade Center tower. At that second I knew it was a terrorism attack instead of an aircraft accident. I called the TV station where I had been a Middle East expert during the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein (I had been an international legal negotiator in a past life and had been writing a 'fiction' book about a flash war in the Middle East when Saddam invaded Kuwait).

The TV station said "come in" so I spent the entire day at the Fox 26 studios in Houston, watching the news and giving analysis from time to time during the day, not really knowing exactly what was going to happen next or even WHO was behind the attack. I was there until 9 pm that night and I was the lead interview, followed by Rep. Tom DeLay who had called in from Washington, DC. I still have the videotapes. (I later heard he was quite mad about it since I had run against him in the primary for his Congress seat the year before in 2000).

At one point an anchor told me about a photo someone had sent to her from New York that we didn't air. She said the person who sent it asked "Do you notice anything unusual?" It was a photo of several people falling from one of the towers. She said no. Then the person said, "Look again. None of them have feet." Apparently the fire was so hot that jumping was better than the searing heat that was burning off their feet.

It was a shocking day I will remember vividly for the rest of my life.

Will the London riots come to the U.S.? Rick Perry’s Record

12 August 2011

Global American Series

Will the London riots come to the U.S.? Rick Perry’s Record

Will the London riots come to the U.S. with austerity? Why are investors taking money from stock and putting it into US Treasuries after the S&P downgrade? Is putting US finances in the hands of 12 people as a “SuperCongress” wise or risky? Will it “fix it” or make it easier for lobbyists to influence 12 versus 535 Congress members? And is Texas Governor Rick Perry's record on deficits and jobs really what he says? We cover these issues on this week’s Global American radio.

A funny thing happened on the way to the first national credit downgrade in our history. Investors pulled money from Wall Street and put it into the “downgraded” U.S. treasuries! Why? We ask that question to Houston Chronicle business columnist Loren Steffy. Are more shoes about to drop as other countries face a downgrade? What impact will that have on us?

We also ask Mr. Steffy: “Will any politician really be honest with the American public about what it will take to put our fiscal house in order?” Will Americans elect a candidate who is brave enough to tell them what they need to hear -- instead of what they want to hear? If not, how do we get out of this mess?

The London riots of the past few days – are they just a random criminal act or a result of the pressures brought about by high unemployment and Britain’s conservative party’s austerity budget that has been making deep cuts? Will the same discontent and open looting come to the United States as Congress adopts a “cuts only” austerity approach to our budget problems? How will cuts create jobs that everyone wants when cuts do only one thing - eliminate jobs?

Finally, in our last segment we look at Texas Governor Perry, who is about to announce a run for the Presidency. What is his record on deficits and jobs after being Governor for over 10 years? Is that record what he says it is? Were Texas deficits covered by Obama stimulus money? What if his record shows “borrow-and-spend” policies like former President Bush? What skeletons could fall out of the closet? We will provide a “heads up” on a couple…

For details tune in Saturday at 9 am Central time on Business 1110AM on Global American radio, streamed on and Podcast 24/7 on – where you can find more information on the Texas economy.

Michael Fjetland

Global American Series

(Click on “Newsletter” to find our archive of programs and issues regarding Texas, etc.)

Comments welcome at:

Sponsored by Armor Glass International, Inc.

“Saving Energy and Protecting People from Rioters, Burglars, Hurricanes and Politicians”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Result of S&P Downgrade: Investors dumps Stocks and BUY US Treasuries!

The S&P on Friday downgraded the USA credit from AAA for the first time in history.

What was the reaction? Investors dumped stock and invested in the "downgraded" U.S. treasuries! What a statement!

Even so-called downgraded U.S. debt is BETTER than the Wall Street stock market. What does that tell you about the S&P action?

According to investors the safest investment on the PLANET is still the U.S. government IOU's.

If we want to really solve our problems then let's have an intelligent conversation on JOB creation in the U.S. -

We do not need more weeks wasted on phony issues. America needs a strategy for global success. Tune in to Global American radio to hear a global strategy from someone who has been in over 50 countries, beginning with the Fortune 500, and has one...

Dominque Sachese, a TV newscaster in Houston, said today "its been a strange summer." I have to agree. It's been a really strange YEAR so far. The intense heat is making it worse. Houston has now had a record number of triple digit days, and the drought is so bad that Big Spring TX announced plans to recycle urine for water. How bad does it have to get before we realize we have a shortage worse than oil - water!

It's time we started using our brains to address these issues of climate and economics instead of shouting mindless slogans and sound bites. Our lives, economic and environmental, are on the line.

Try shouting "global warming is a hoax" after drinking recycled urine because that is all there is due to our worst nightmare: lack of water, essential to life of plants and wild animals not to mention humans. Mother animals are abandoning their young because there is not enough food or water for all of them.

"Drill baby drill" won't fix the problem as droughts continue and populations double, especially if hydraulic fracking fluids have contaminated underground aquifers.

We need a plan for success - to avoid stumbling in the next obvious crisis no one saw coming...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Russia, Syria's Killing Fields & Winning the American Future

This is BIG. It is rare for Russia to side with the U.S. on international issues, or at the UN.

But Russia is now doing so on Syria -- where "President" Assad is, as you read this, murdering thousands of unarmed civilians with tanks and machine guns. Bashir Assad is son of former dictator Hafez Assad, who murdered over 10,000 in Hama in 1982. ("Like father like son" --you get the picture?). I was in Syria on an international kidnapping case in the late 90's. It has gotten worse since then.

Mr. Assad should be either in International Criminal Court in the Hague -- or on the receiving end of a Predator missile (if I were President it would be one or the other, his choice). Homes and public buildings in the southern Syrian city of Hama have been shelled into rubble. On Friday, people coming out of Mosques who shouted "Assad Resign" were shot with heavy caliber weapons. No 1st Amendment free speech allowed in Syria. Assad, like Saddam, is good at murdering unarmed civilians by the thousands.

Killing unarmed civilians by a leader is a criminal act that violates American values and international law --or should.

The surprise? That came when Russian President Medvedev said: “Assad needs to urgently launch reforms, make peace with the opposition, restore civil order and create a modern state. If he cannot do that, a sad fate awaits him..."

A sad fate? Wow, strong words from the Russians. But fitting for a killer.

If America and the world turns a blind eye to mass murder -- then why have a UN? What good are all the American speeches about "freedom" or "justice" or "patriotism" and "American Exceptionalism" for that matter?

They are shallow words if we sit by watching serial murders of unarmed citizens with heavy weapons and do nothing about it. That does NOT make us exceptional in my opinion. It makes us not look worthy of our forefathers values. While we are being self obsessed, killers don't have to worry about us do they? No one in the tea party seems to know where Syria is, or care. And the looney lefties like Dennis Kunich just visited Bashir Assad. He looked like an idiot. Both extremes left and right know practically nothing about the world they claim to lead.

My definition of "Exceptional" would be America working with the world to stop Mr. Assad's 'slaughtering people like sheep' while focusing on getting Americans back to work.

We need to practice real American values. We need to practice what we preach. We need good old fashioned ACTION. We need to focus on real issues, global opportunities and threats, instead of phony ones that distract our government from focusing on our own people and their needs. Don't you think that would be important?

Failure to act, both here and overseas, makes us the opposite of Good Samaritans.

While Congress is at it, they need to get out of Frog Jump USA to see enough of the world (like Syria and China) so they can realize that we have to play a smart global high tech game to win the 21st century. China has come from a backward poor country I first visited in 1982 to the second largest economy in the world which has more math and science pros then we do. It's your kids' future on the line.

We can't win the 21st Century with Congress representatives who call their new government Blackberry a "Blueberry." They wouldn't even know Blackberry is in trouble due to the IPhone, etc., so how are these clueless characters going to guide us in a high tech century? Have they been to China and India to see what we are up against?

We can't win the present or the future when intolerant, inflexible people demand months of hell to vote on a routine debt law that was easily approved 7 times under President Bush. The debt vote should have taken less than an hour of their time. It was for a budget they had already approved!

The sad truth is that they haven't spent that kind of time on the JOBS issue.

We can't win the future when Congress doesn't know the lesson of 1937 where premature cuts FDR crashed the economy coming out of the Great Depression--unless that is what they want - to bring down the economy and the President. If that's the case then they care more about power then the economic pain of millions of ordinary American people.

Instead of offering any job plan since taking majority of the House, the GOP has repeatedly shot down every plan proposed by the President to improve American education and training to fill the high tech jobs of the future.

This tea bagger Congress even held up the routine approval of a FAA bill, causing the lay off of 70,000 Construction workers for over two weeks while they paraded down the halls of Congress raising hell about the debt vote for a budget they had already approved! They didn't seem to notice 70,000 ordinary Americans forced to sit home and not get a check to feed their families or pay their mortgage while Congress got its checks. They didn't care that their dispute over $13 million was costing taxpayers $1 billion in lost revenue and delayed airport construction. When it hit the news, they called in their approval from their vacation spots! No missed checks for them! They need to be laid off for not doing their (Congressional) work.

Since 2001, we have a structural deficit of 40% - even our military expenses are 40% covered by money borrowed from China. Why? Because of the 2001 unpaid for Bush tax cuts (that favored the rich), the unpaid for 2004 Bush Plan D prescription drug plan for Medicare, which is a good thing except it was never covered by new revenues, and two unpaid for Bush wars --which left us 40% short in yearly revenues. Hence the need to keep raising the debt limit.

Remember the facts. Bush inherited a $250 SURPLUS from Pres. Clinton. Obama inherited a lump of coal from Bush in the form of a $1.2 Trillion DEFICIT his first day on the job, with an economy going into the abyss. Bush had piled nearly $6 trillion in borrowing to our national debt. He basically DOUBLED our national debt in 8 years, before the bottom fell out.

Now, as the economy wobbles (along with Europe's etc) and some 13 million people are looking for work, a tiny band of nutters in Congress threatened to default on our never-broken AAA credit rating, while ignoring 70,000 construction workers laid off for weeks, and millions in revenues lost, because these Congress reps would not pass a routine bill. Some leadership!

As an American with its ordinary people as my No. 1 priority, I've noticed that since the GOP took control of Congress in 2010 they have not issued a single jobs bill. Not one.

Isn't employment and jobs our No. 1 priority? The corporations are sitting on $2.5 trillion in cash so they certainly are not a priority. Banks are sitting on trillions, so they are not a priority. How about focusing on ways to get 14 million Americans back into jobs for the 21st century? Shouldn't that be what Congress is focused on, like a laser beam?

Instead of offering ideas, Ive seen the GOP shoot down every one of President Obama's plans, then claiming he has no plans! Make up your minds guys.

They even gave a thumbs down to the President's plan to train Americans for the millions of skilled jobs that are unfilled because there are not enough Americans with the special skills to do them! How does that help America? Without the training the jobs will have to go offshore or to foreigners who do have those skills.

I have yet to see the GOP offer a real plan how to get Americans into those high-tech jobs that not enough Americans are qualified to fill. Corporations won't do the training because they fear the employee will go elsewhere for a better offer once they pay for it. And they are probably right!

So who does that leave to help create the next generation of Americans with the advanced skills we'll need in the 21st century? That leaves either the government or the individual, right? And its unlikely a broke unemployed person could do it. With what?

By training these people we help ourselves, because their employment in higher paying jobs will help ripple through the economy, make mortgage payments and pay our social security benefits as the hordes of baby boomers retire in mass the next 20 years. We can't get there with a 50% high school drop out rate and cuts in education.

The only keys we have to success in the high tech, space age future are high-tech skills fueled by education. The Chinese and Europeans have Moon landings and other space ventures in motion. The 21st century will not be won by those who can flip the most burgers.

Do you think we can win really a space race with 30 year old machines? Can a Model T win at the Indy 500? Can someone with only a high school or less education run a computerized milling machine for making aircraft or spacecraft? Not without training.

Until we upgrade the skills of the American workforce, our future is in jeopardy. We must avoid self inflicted disasters like the Titanic.

Our debt issues are easily solvable. Tax reform and ending loopholes alone could generate over $1 trillion a year in new revenues to meet the services Americans want. These are self inflicted wounds because people believed in voodoo economics and our leadership squandered our financial stability on wars never paid for.

But we can fix that (by getting off voodoo bookkeeping and quit giving special interests special tax deals ordinary citizens don't get).

What we can't fix in the future is a present failure to prepare our citizens for the 21st century skills they, and we, will need to succeed as a people. That failure jeopardizes the very leadership our country has attained on a global scale. Don't let small minded people throw it away.

Congress should make Priority No. 1 spending every waking hour working on a non-partisan plan to create American jobs and upgrading our nation's skills to maintain our technology leadership in the 21st century. We do not want to go down the same path as the Romans.

It would be an entirely unnecessary self-inflicted failure of a country. Remember Proverbs 29: 18: "Where there is no vision, the people perish."

Is America living on borrowed time?

America: Living on Borrowed Time?

5 August 2011

Global American Series

Is America living on borrowed time? After putting the nation through hell for a month over raising the debt ceiling, they basically “kicked the can down the road” and ignored the one topic that concerns nearly all ordinary Americans: JOBS.

Then they let the FAA lay off 70,000 construction workers while they went on vacation! The fight? The ideologues wanted to cut $13 million for servicing remote airports -- even if they lost $1 billion in tax revenues that would normally be collected from air ticket fees during August while they were sitting on a beach somewhere, collecting their Congressional pay.

No wonder that the stock market dropped 512 points yesterday. The latest poll shows 82% of Americans are disgusted with Congress, as they should be. We have what John McCain calls “hobbits” living in Alice in Wonderland world, instead of the real world.

Basically Congress spent a month fighting over raising the debt ceiling to borrow more money for the same budget approved by the same Congress earlier this year! Not only did the “debt deal” fail to address the structural deficit, it repeats the mistake of 1937 – cutting back spending when the economy is weak, creating the potential of a “double dip” recession.

Loren Steffy, the Houston Chronicle’s business columnist and author of “Drowning in Oil: The BP Story” explains some of the bizarre behavior of Congress as our guest on Global American radio this Saturday, 9 am Central on Business 1110 AM, streamed on and Podcast 24/7 on (click favorite program and look for the above title).

We also discuss what it would really take to create a balanced budget where revenues and expenses are equalized. Did you know if the loopholes in the tax code were eliminated we could generate an extra $1 trillion/year – enough to pay off our entire debt in just 14 years!

Until we start electing centrists from each party instead of ideologues who would prefer default and destroying the country’s AAA credit to compromise, America is living on borrowed time. Want some real solutions instead of political talking point that are utter nonsense?

Then tune in to Global American radio and tell your friends to sign up for our Global American newsletter. The entire global economy is wobbly. Corporations and banks are sitting on $2.5 Trillion in cash. Yet Congress focuses on the wrong things at the cost of further jobs and growth. How else could they go on vacation leaving 70,000 construction workers idled simply because Congress didn’t approve the FAA funding bill that has routinely been extended over 20 times?

Michael Fjetland

Sponsored by Armor Glass International, Inc.

May be needed as a barrier to protect Congress members hurling rocks at each other…!