Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Israel Helped Hamas Extremists - Why Its NOT Good

Global American Series
November 27, 2012
How Israel Helped Hamas
Extremists Win over the Moderate Palestinians
-Why It Doesn’t Bode Well in the New Missile Age

The winds are pushing this giant ship around just as I write this somewhere in the waters south of Cuba, in waters that brought the U.S. to the brink of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union in the 1960’s. It struck me that the winds of war that once again swept over Israel and Gaza could bring Israel to the same point. The winds are equally ominous in Israel today, for one simple reason.

The Hamas extremists showed that violence yields immediate results from Israel whereas all the negotiations and peaceful waiting by Mr. Abbas in the West Bank has yielded absolutely nothing for the Palestinians. Here is what just happened. Hamas fired thousands of small rockets, which have no guidance system into Israel. Israel uses jets and drones to drop laser bombs on Hamas targets.

Days later there is a ceasefire. As part of the deal cut by Hamas, Gaza fishermen for the first time are allowed to fish twice as far from shore as before – six miles from shore instead of three.  Palestinian farmers who were being shot at by Israeli citizens if they approached within 1500 feet of the border fence can now farm their land to within of couple hundred feet of the border fence without being shot at.

This concession by Israel has strengthened the hand of the extremist Hamas, who refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist – while it weakened the hand of Mr. Abbas and his nonviolent approach, who year after year watches more Israeli settlements continuing to be built on Palestinian land. Palestinians can see that Mr. Abbas’ recognition of Israel failed to yield any improvement versus what Hamas just did by shooting its rockets.

The lesson of this latest flash war is that the more violent approach of Hamas yields results while the peaceful approach of Abbas and his Fatah party yields only stalemate for Palestinians.

In this new high tech space age of rapidly evolving missiles, that is the worst incentive Israel could be setting up for itself. It only encourages another round of violence by Hamas to get yet more concessions for their demands – concessions like allowing more construction materials into Gaza and reduction of the embargo that has crippled the economy since Hamas took political control. It is logical to conclude that it will take more violence to settle their land disputes since negotiations with Abbas have yielded nothing.

Had Israel not waited for a missile attack to allow Palestinian farmers access to their farm land and had allowed Gaza fisherman freedom to go beyond the limited three mile limit to practice their trade and given those rights in negotiations with Mr. Abbas, then the message would have been that talking works and violence doesn’t. 

In this case, the message Israel is sending to all Palestinians, and Arabs (as well as Persians like Iran) is the opposite – that violence works if they want concessions from Israel.  Only Mr. Netanyahu and the Israeli leadership has the power to change this situation. They could address the root of the problem by negotiating a two-state solution with someone like Abbas, and reward nonviolence.

If not, then Hamas has gotten the message -- violence works. And that sets up the next missile exchange somewhere down the road -- with more sophisticated weapons. 

Time is not on Israel’s side. Today it is the undisputed superpower in this exchange – its precision bombs, jets and drones are more than a match for the entire Middle East, especially against the simple rockets fired by Hamas that don’t even have guidance systems.

But what will happen if Israel fails to negotiate a two-state solution with leaders like Abbas until such time as Hamas has precision bombs, jets and drones – or its own “Iron Dome”? Can Israel afford to let it happen? 

Can Israel afford to continue on a path that rewards violence against it and punishes those who negotiate nonviolently?  My ship is in waters that almost led to a thermonuclear exchange between the U.S. and Russia in the 1960’s.

Israel’s ship is in waters that could soon repeat what these Cuban waters experienced over 50 years ago unless it charts a new course.

Michael Fjetland, BBA/JD
Global American Series
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Thursday, November 22, 2012

What Thanksgiving Is All About...


Prelude to Next HIGH TECH WAR in Middle East

The Israel Gaza Truce won't last.

I will be posting an article on the situation in near future - as a Terrorism Analyst dating back to the first Gulf War.  Hamas now has more power than the moderate Abbas in the West Bank -

Lebanon's Hezbollah didn't even participate in this fighting - and they have 40,000 Rockets!

Netanyahu is catching hell from his right wing for not invading Gaza.  Egypt's new President has taken over judicial and legislative powers - a potential new dictator. Yet Egypt was the only mediator who could talk to both sides - since even Hillary couldn't talk to Hamas.

And with Iran's government supplying Hamas, etc long range, more sophisticated ROCKETS, we are moving to a HIGH TECH WAR...stay tuned.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

China: Seeing It As Entrepreneur 30 years after First Trip for Fortune 500

 China: Seeing It As Entrepreneur 30 years after First Trip for Fortune 500

How 21st Century Could be China’s Century If America Doesn’t Play it Right…

This true story ends with a video link to what it’s like to ride the 430 KPH “MagLev” into Shanghai Airport –the fastest train in the world. 

I made this trip just before the Presidential election to compare the China I encountered  in 1982 --as one of the first negotiators in China for large American companies after President Nixon had opened the door -- versus China NOW.  How does China NOW compare to America’s Technology position NOW – and more importantly --WHAT do we need to do to stay ahead?

Let's start with a "before" and "after" shot. The first photo is me on Tiananmen Square in 1982 -- during a weekend break in our negotiations on pollution control equipment for their power plants. I was 32, so yes, I was one of the youngest negotiators right after Nixon had opened the doors to China to American companies.  Notice the EMPTY boulevard behind me. In the distance you see two buses.

Now for the "After" photo. The next one is me, age 62, at the same intersection on Tiananmen Square in October 2012. I couldn't reach the same side of the street because it was blocked by 20 lanes of CARS...and a military parade. Notice the street is NOT EMPTY. We sat in traffic jams all over China.

In October I went back to China exactly 30 years after my first trip there in 1982 as a young attorney for a Fortune 500 company. Ironically I was there in 1982 to negotiate a license for American pollution control technology for their coal fired power plants – to keep the nasty coal ash out of the emissions.  We were competing with two European companies for the contract.
Stunning is the best description of the changes.

Next 2 Photos Below: I am standing in the middle of an empty Tienanmen Square street in 1982 -- in the middle of the day no less! Buses and bicycles was all they had. Photos by Michael Fjetland

 Photo BELOW: China's streets 2012. Notice a DIFFERENCE? Forget $2 oil...Between China and India's growth, oil will continue to be a finite, dwindling resource as China alone adds 170 Million MORE cars the next 5 Years! It's already the Largest Car Market in the World.

The contrast between China then and now blew me away --and I've seen nearly 50 countries the last three decades.  In 1982 it was a world of bicycles and everyone wore the same blue shirt and pants and made $30 a month (photos on the blog site).  If I had stepped off the street at the wrong moment and I would have been run over by a million bicycles in 1982.

Next Photo: Transportation in 1982, in Beijing, China...Photo and caption by Michael Fjetland

 Photo below: Transportation in 2012. The 265 mph "MagLev" train - Fastest in the World. Photo by Michael Fjetland. All Rights Reserved.

In 2012, had I stepped off the curb at the wrong moment, I would have been run over by a million CARS – and no one would have stopped!

China is today the largest car market in the world. It will add 170 MILLION more cars the next 5 years! All of them will need even more scarce gasoline – so the notion of $2 gas is a fantasy. China already pays $6 gallon today! American cars are No. 3 in their market. Japan is No. 1.

Photo below: Beijing Buildings 1982 - Plain jane buildings...old Soviet style blocks really. That's THEN.
Compare to NOW. 2012 Photo below: IBM building in Beijing - They call it the "Dragon Head" building...Photos by Michael Fjetland. All Rights Reserved.
 Photo below: 2012 Shanghai "Bund" - Amazing architecture...

I noticed that as we sat in traffic jams from Beijing to Shanghai to Suzhou to Hangzhou that the Bullet Trains would FLY BY so fast that by the time I got my camera turned on, the bullet was already GONE. I never did get a photo of a moving bullet train one for that reason.

But I did take a 7 minute video of the most amazing 7 minutes riding at 430 kph (265 miles per hour!) on the fastest train in the world – Shanghai’s “MagLev” train that hovers over the track and is as smooth as silk at 265 miles per hour. The cars we passed appear to be flying backwards! Here is the 7 minute video link to that:

Photo: MagLev, up close with author, Michael Fjetland October 2012. Love these digital cameras. Note the reflection in the MagLev's windows....SMOOTH. A glass of water would not have rippled during the whole thing. And the way we passed cars was STUNNING and COOL...

Frontal video of MagLev coming into station (21 seconds)

THAT is the competition America faces in this high tech, global 21st century – where the winner is not the one with the biggest military but the country with the best technology and education system to support it. 

I lost count of building cranes that I saw on hundreds of buildings under construction all over China. Chinese are doing what AMERICANS used to do – invest, build, and educate to a higher standard of living.

Americans need to go see countries like China for themselves – compare the Chinesenew buildings to their old one; compare their fast trains to our slow one; compare their teaching their kids English while  barely speak English ourselves and let bridges fail in disrepair and don’t invest in maintenance and expansion of our road.  Cities like Houston and states like Texas will double in size the next couple decades ahead.  
Above Photo: My hotel in Shanghai, the Renaissance 2012

We can’t afford not  to plan ahead if we are to succeed.
Above Photo: How I (left) and my Chinese friends Lily and Dashan dressed in 1982 (note the hush puppies). Dashan was the interpreter for the Chinese Ministry negotiating our technology license.

Above Photo: How Chinese dress in 2012. We came across a Chinese wedding at one of our dinners...

If  people get out of their silos and see the real world for themselves perhaps Americans and our Congress would wake up from their delusions and realize that we need to play a smart strategic global game to win this space age race.  The next frontier really is where few humans have gone before.

China will launch yet another manned space flight in the next few months. They will have a brand new Space Station when the ISS is 20 years old and due for retirement. There are over 40 countries now competing in space. How does this make us leaders in technology – and staying power? China is also leading in green energy production while half our Congress remains committed to old technologies as outdated as the horse and buggy was when the automobile came along.
Above: China already has first module of this space station in orbit. Completion date: 2020 - when the ISS is scheduled for retirement!  No ISS 2 planned, which could leave China as only power with new Space Station!

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Michael’s story of unique experiences in countries like China in the 80's was kept as journals and published in “Better Times Ahead: April Fool” Links:

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Election 2012: A NEW America Emerges --What it Means for Future

President Obama's re-election with a clear majority (including 332 electoral votes to Romney's 206) marks the beginning of a NEW America in 2012.

American voters now look like the country as a whole - the electorate is now totally diverse, not just white people.  I say this as one who has run for Congress in more than one GOP primary.*

Few people realize that Obama also got 2/3's of the CUBAN American vote - a vote that in the past has always been Republican.  Obama led by a wide margin with WOMEN. He got 70% of the Hispanic vote, the fastest growing group in America. Obama led among college and the youth vote - those who stay with a party once they pick one. Obama also got the white progressive vote (people like me).  Romney led among old white people, who are at the end of their careers and life cycle.

Some have said that the majority who voted in Obama "just want free stuff."  This is the same illogical thinking that led to the GOP loss, and will lead to more defeats until they change their ways. 

The only things people who voted for Obama want are:

1) Opportunity to VOTE
2) Opportunity for EDUCATION

Obama voters don't want welfare; they want WORK. The truth is the greatest number of people on welfare today is WHITE - usually poor whites with children. 

The people who voted for Obama don't want to steal your stuff; they want the opportunity to improve their lot by getting an education - which Obama has said is key to our future. Gov. Romney wanted to CUT Education funding. That would have condemned American success in a high tech world we must compete in.  The GOP in Texas has cut education funding and  Texas now ranks toward the bottom of states in education (thanks to GOP-led Mississippi for keeping us from being number 50).

Furthermore, Obama has proposed TRAINING people to fill the 2 million high tech, high paying jobs that are open and available TODAY in the U.S. - but Americans don't have the skills to fill them.  Our competitors in China and India do have those skills (my next article will cover how fast and far China has come in the last 30 years, and how it stands poised to surpass us).

Most of all, Obama voters -- like all people everywhere -- want RESPECT.

You don't make friends by walking into a party and telling everyone what's wrong with them, or by proclaiming "You are all illegal and need to self deport!" I have a Hispanic friend who served in the U.S. Air Force - yet at restaurants white guys will make disparaging remarks within earshot, as if he is a mafia guy instead of the sales guy he is. He makes his employer over $1 million year selling hazardous materials products to the oil industry. Nothing motivates people more to get "revenge" at the polls then disrespect or attempting to take away their opportunity vote.

In the past two years we have seen a number of GOP controlled states attempt to limit voter access. They imposed voter ID laws in Pennsylvania and Texas and cut the number of early vote days in places like Florida. It was an attempt to suppress votes by legitimate U.S. citizens.  It backfired and brought out voters of many colors who were willing to stand in line for 6 hours or more to exercise their basic American right of choosing our leaders.

Hispanics were treated by the GOP candidates as if all of them are illegals - never mind that most of them are here as legal U.S. citizens and work hard to make a living for their families.  It's why Obama won 70% of their votes. Women were disrespected by wing-nut GOP candidates who talked of "legitimate rape" and other nonsense. Gays were cast as subhuman. "Moderates" were drummed out of the party.  The GOP has narrowed its voter base immensely.  I wonder if the GOP voters even like members of different country clubs?

Demographic trends will continue what was started in Election 2012. To win future elections, a candidate from any party must appeal to a diverse group of voters, not just a few old angry white people or religious fanatics --the ones who still control the GOP primaries. This approach has cost the GOP over 5 U.S. senate seats - and control of the Senate.

A NEW America has emerged from Election 2012. It looks just like the real world - people of many colors and religions, but all loyal Americans who want our country to lead the world.

The sooner the GOP wakes up to this reality the better. Otherwise they will become a permanent minority party, as it should be when it works against the American principals such as "one man one vote" and fails to enlarge its tent to fit modern America that comes in all colors. 

Michael Fjetland*
Global American Series
Ebook: “Better Times Ahead: April Fool” 

*Ran in GOP primaries in 2000, 2002, 2006 against Rep. Tom DeLay -- before leaving the party since moderates are not welcome.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012


On the drive back from Dallas today I had an intense center left vs center right (or maybe further right than that!) debate today - we were like two high energy electrons buzzing around each other with opposing views of the world.

Finally, my NASA friend (who also works with me when not doing his day job) said: "People debate the answers, but we need to know the question" or something like that.

I said: "There is only one."  Its simple really.  "The key question is: 'WHAT'S IT GOING TO TAKE FOR the USA to WIN the HIGH TECH 21st Century in a Global Economy"...

Every answer stems from answering that KEY QUESTION. I raise it because of my knowledge of a world catching up to us..

We have 2 million OPEN, UNFILLED Jobs in America TODAY. But Americans DON'T have the SKILLS to Fill these $70,000 Plus jobs. Obama wants to upgrade education and training to fill them.

This is not a race we can afford to come in second....in the real world of economics, we can't afford to be less than No. 1....but we HAVE to WORK for IT. IT doesn't just fall in our laps!

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The Amazing Strange Fall of Gen. Petraus - CIA at Risk

WHAT was former General, CIA Director Petraus THINKING?  Having an affair while heading the CIA.  The woman biographer, Paula Broadwell, was also married - she "embedded" with the General for 1 year in Afghanistan, apparently in more ways than one.

Yes, Congress reps have affairs, but CIA Directors have to be above that. Secrets and secret affairs equal possible blackmail - in America's highest security office. 
That jeopardizes American security.

But like everyone else I am so totally SHOCKED and SURPRISED he could do something like this...what a shock when they fall off the pedestal...
After 37 years of marriage and after reaching the highest acclaim for his work in Iraq and Afghanistan, what a sad and strange END to that career.  
Women don't tend to do these things - not at the frequency men seem to.  Perhaps President Obama needs to appoint a WOMEN to the CIA....! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

GOP CUTS in EDUCATION Will Sabotage U.S. in High Tech Space Age century

A good point was raised on Facebook by my nephew's intelligent wife, Stephanie Fjetland, who said "When you Vote, don't forget the people running for school board. Remember how they have "dumbed down" our books -- which end up going national." She was speaking of the Texas Board of Education, which is notorious for some of its controversial decsions.

I add to her comment with this thought
"The Texas State Board GOP members removed from our history books the writer of our American Constitution. Yes, they really did cut out Thomas Jefferson, a key member of our founding fathers who wrote the Declaration of Independence we all know and love. 
Why? Because the GOP members of the board were offended that Jefferson had written about separation of church and state, so they deleted him from our history books. The Taliban would approve. (Never mind that America was founded by people eager to get away from England's church-state rule).
These Texas-approved books are then sent to schools nationally --to dumb them down the rest of American kids who have to read them, depriving them of learning about the man who wrote the great principles upon which we stand, and much more
The GOP members of the Texas State Board of Education have diluted our knowledge base instead of enhancing it consistently.  We cannot win the global economy and be on the cutting edge of advancement in a globally competitive marketplace without investing in our education, as President Obama has done. The GOP TX Board has Texas ranking near the bottom nationally.
DON'T Let that happen... 
EDUCATION is America's only hope to win the 21st century..because it is already a high tech, space age century and will only become MORE so as technology advances. Only those countries that lead in education will lead in technology. 
So I urge you to "Vote NO on the TX GOP Board of Education candidates - these people actually believe dinosaurs were put on the ark and think that the world is only 6,000 years old, despite science to the contrary that its about 1 billion years old. I'm expecting them to declare next that the world is flat and that the sun revolves around the Earth!
Our education system has been diluted and debased by this kind of thinking by the TX Board of Education majority at the same time the Chinese are building 265 mph MagLev's and India is graduating tens of thousands of talented engineers who can pass math tests American kids cant...
That lack of high tech skills means that the over 2 million American jobs available RIGHT NOW remain unfilled -- because AMERICANS don't have the science and math skills to fill them. Chinese workers so. Indian workers do. Others do. 
Not us Americans. Why? Because of the GOP members of the Texas Board of Education (who are apparently Bored With Education)...This is not just a Texas problem, unfortunately.
So the only choice left is to Vote for the "Democrat" candidates running for the State Board of Education -- and others like it -- to give us a NEW BOARD necessary to advance our Texas (and American) Educational system -- or fall behind the world. 
In the inescapable global economy we are part of we MUST be EDUCATIONALLY competitive.  We can't win the world economy with mediocre standards and distorted history books.
That means we Can't Succeed with the ROMNEY/Ryan proposed CUTS to Education --they will SABOTAGE OUR FUTURE. It will guarantee the jobs are outsourced to China or India because we don't have the skills here.
Cutting education will not a great nation make in the space age.  Knowing how to flip burgers and how many celebrities are in rehab will not make us No. 1 in the world.
President Obama has invested in education - the TX GOP School Board members have not.  The difference between investing in education versus cutting education will make us or break us as a great nation. 
So the choice you make from the White House to the School Board in 2012 will also make us or break us as a great nation...
Will you pick of the path of investing in America's future --, or will you vote for dinosaurs on an ark in a world of MagLevs and 2 million unfilled American high tech jobs...waiting for Americans with the skills to fill them...?
Michael Fjetland
Global American Series