Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Drones Over the White House - Time to ACT

The drunk who flew a drone into the side of the White House at 3 a.m. did us a favor. He showed that (1) drinking and flying is a BAD idea and (2) the dangers of modern technology need to be addressed to protect the President. I say this as someone who was a terrorism adviser on 911.

While this man meant no harm the incident will give others ideas.  What if the next drone is packed with C4 military explosive? What if it is flown by either a (1) domestic or (2) foreign terrorist?  Do we really want to wait until there is a tragedy to act?

Instead of studying this issue to death the secret service needs to act!  The fence jumper a few months ago showed how inadequate White House security has become.  It is evident that changes need to be made NOW to protect the President. These include:

1)     Making the present fence higher, or better yet, adding a second fence with a ditch in between to make it very difficult for a fence jumper to get over it before security has had time to react.

2)     Add a “jamming device” that would incapacitate any drones flying near the White House. The technology already exists. Just do it!

3)     Make sure that the White House is not within the line of sight of anyone with a sniper rifle like that seen in “American Sniper.” It’s a fact that a sniper can make a shot from as far away as one mile!  Put obstacles wherever needed to force them to get within the area patrolled by security to attempt a shot.

4) Add more agents on the White House grounds, and surrounding areas.

Even the secret service has recommended adding four to five feet to the current fence. So why hasn’t it already been done?  I suspect there are thousands of contractors who could put it up in a few days.  However, once a single fence is scaled, its useless. Adding a second one changes the odds of a jumper getting past the fence and onto the grounds.

It’s time to quit studying things to death. It is time to act. It wasn’t until JFK was shot that Presidents stopped riding in open air vehicles.  Let’s make the changes now before it is too late – for either President Obama or future Presidents.

It's a new century with new threats and new technology. We need to make the changes necessary to deal with it...

If you agree, please pass this on to the White House.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why the Presidents of the World’s Largest and Oldest Democracies Need Each Other in a Dangerous World

26 January 2015

Why the Presidents of the World’s Largest and Oldest Democracies Need Each Other in a Dangerous World

President Obama-- who represents the oldest democracy in the world is visiting India -- the largest democracy of the world.  India’s leaders are discovering that they like America under President Obama; and that we have much in common. 

Both leaders share a similar personal story of growing up poor. Mr. Modi sold tea on a railway platform as a child. Obama grew up as the son of a single mother. Neither had the advantage of a dad who was rich or a former President or CEO to insure their success. Yet both Modi and Obama were elected to lead their respective nations to address staggering economic issues.

Obama inherited the worst economy in 70 years; Mr. Modi has over 1 billion people that need food and jobs. India is a land of a million villages and extreme wealth disparities.

I have a long history with India. I was sent their as a young attorney for an American Fortune 500 company who wanted to sell our products there. Ironically, the product was pollution control equipment for coal fired power plants.  It was a 100 year old technology invented in England that my company in Houston had purchased. I was setting up an export that creates jobs here. At the time, India has made it extremely difficult for American companies like us to sell into their market. The tax rate was 70%. 

The deal I made with an Indian company (one of the largest in India) had to be approved by the government before it could go into effect. My trips cost thousands even in 70’s and 80’s dollars my first class air tickets were $5,000.  A sale would pay for the salaries, overhead and profit of our staff and engineers in Houston and Birmingham, England (note: Yes, Birmingham, the place an “expert” on Fox News claimed  is a Muslim no-go zone, before he was laughed at by the conservative head of England’s government, David Cameron, who called him an “idiot”).

India and China are rising powers – communist China’s economy will pass America’s in size in 2015.  India can help America influence non-democratic China so that it does not become a greater threat to Asia. That is very possible since China has been growing its military budget substantially and trying to grab remote islands from Vietnam because of their oil potential. India and China share a border in the highest mountains in the world.

The title of my book “Better Times Ahead April Fool” comes from a sign I once saw in India while zipping through a depressingly black Bombay at 2 a.m. on a trip. I had arrived on April Fool’s day of that year.  America and India need each other to avoid being divided and conquered as fools by Russia and China in a dynamically changing space age, nuclear world.

India assaulted my senses like none of the other 50 plus countries I have been in.  It’s not every day that you ride in a taxi when children with missing limbs surround the car, begging for money. Yet last year they put an orbiter around Mars for 10% of the cost of a NASA program.

What I saw, along with the rise of China, is detailed in journal entries I wrote in airplanes and hotels, long before the days of computers and internet.

We need closer ties to India. Out two democracies are the only bright lights in a world of monarchies, dictatorships and one party government like those in Russia and China.

Stay tuned to Global American values for updates on these vital issues to our future.  Pass it on. What country do you think America should worry about the most?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why Do People Feel FREE to State Political views to Strangers on Vacation?

22 January 2014

1:30 pm. We are somewhere between Roatan, Honduras and Houston. This is one of two full sea days before we arrive Saturday morning back at Bayport.

Yesterday we got the tour of Roatan, which is a nice island about 30 miles off deadly Honduras. But on Roatan it was laid back and comfortable.  A “sea” of people got off the boat and disappeared for the day. We spent about 4 hours driving to the east side of the island and watched some traditional people do their music and dance. 

Probably the best photo I got was right before the event started when I caught on the women performers resting her head in her hands. She looked very bored. Lol. I took a few shots of the tourists, who also looked quite bored during the performance. We are a jaded bunch.

We did see a couple shipwrecks and the water was beautiful as well as the beach at Pirate’s Bay. They don’t have much for beaches and the island is protected by a reef that surrounds it – the water is a light blue versus the darker blue deeper waters.

We have had the pleasure of meeting different people when we “table share” during meals – most of them from cold places like Canada, Kansas, Utah, New York, etc. But Wednesday night we ended up in the dining area sharing a table with two other couples. For the first time we were seated with people from Texas. Why is it some people feel free to bring up politics during a vacation cruise?

That’s happened a couple times and it wasn’t me. It went downhill when the giant guy across the table from me starting going off about climate change being “normal” – and how he had taught science at Texas A&M.  Then he said he found out how some A&M students in animal husbandry got to eat the cows or the turkeys or whatever animal they worked on. Apparently he felt like they got a better deal than he. He did look like he had eaten a whale.

The final straw fortunately came as we finished dessert. Laura asked him how he felt about the new Pope Francis. The guy said “I think he is evil.” He went on about how he thought it was the “end times” because of a pope bringing the religions together.  What? Religions getting along are a bad thing? I couldn’t keep quiet at that point and said “I LIKE him” and by the way, I ran for Congress and went to Mosques, Synagogues, churches etc. and “heard the same sermon in each—be good, pray, don’t sin.” 

He puffed up and said “No you didn’t.”  I could have--should have--cut him off at the knees but instead we called it a night.  Like Hyatt’s book says, “If it’s a troll, ignore them; they feed on conflict.”  I had no desire to debate a dead brain. But I was still so pissed that it took a couple hours to calm down. Another phony “Christian.”  It’s funny, the same conservatives are holding back us as well as places like Saudi Arabia (no women drivers) and ISIS/Taliban (no girls’ school or music, no pigeon raising!).

Needless to say the odds of having to share time with them again is remote since on a ship of 2,000 you get a different couple every time!  Lol.

January 23, 2015
10:30. Woke up to RAIN. But it is still smooth sailing. Home tomorrow. Spent yesterday cataloging videos from the past year to upload later. Most of them were video journals during the US Senate campaign. I didn’t have time to write a journal so I taped some on the road. More on that later.

I am about to run out of Ship Internet minutes at 40 cents. Then it jumps to 75 cents a minute!

So what has been YOUR favorite place in the world to see far from home?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

From a Ship in Houston Every Port in the World is Open to You...Here's 3 - Cozumel, Belize, Roatan Honduras

My journal this week.

20 January 2015

We are sitting on a Norwegian cruise ship 5 miles off Belize – there is a reef that keeps us from getting closer. So they send out small boats to “tender” us to the mainland at Belize City, the capital.  We can see at least two other ships near us, one is a Carnival and the other is too far away to tell, but its huge like us.

Yesterday we woke up in Cozumel, on the Yucatan in Mexico after leaving Bayport, Houston and spending a night and a day crossing the Gulf of Mexico. 

Above: Cozumel, Mexico harbor

When we left Port Houston an entire world of ports opened up to us—if you had the time and money you could sail to any port in the entire world. Commercial ships do it all the time – over 6,000 of them a year coming into the Houston port alone. But on this trip we are making 3 ports of call-- Cozumel, Belize and Roatan, an island 30 miles from the mainland of Honduras.

Here is a map:
Cozumel (and cancun) is probably the safest place in Mexico. Because of tourism they have tons of jobs, so they don’t have the issues like western Mexico, where I heard they stopped taking cruise passengers because a busload of them were stopped at a checkpoint and robbed. That’s not good for business so the ships stopped going to places like Mazatlan, where I have been.  Here is a street shot:
Above: Street scene in Cozumel. Notice the police in the truck carrying a machine gun.

Next stop we made was Belize
The funniest thing that happened in Belize was when we were riding the tour bus and a lady in the back piped up and asked: “What about the damage from the Tsunami?”  I almost cracked up and wanted to shout: “That was in Indonesia, on the other side of the world!” but I let the guide handle out. “No, we have not had any Tsunami’s here” and she went on from there.

A lot of Americans live in Belize because it is cheap as a retirement place.  Gas costs $4.50 a gallon – when it is under $2 in the U.S. (our guide said it had been $6 before the price drop).  She said that a company has a monopoly on gasoline distribution. That explains a lot. I wondered why they allowed their government to do that, but they seemed to think “that’s the way it is.”  So, people use the term “driving their BMW” – meaning “Be Me Walking.”  Many use bicycles. They have zero solar and zero wind power – the gasoline monopoly I am sure opposes that too since it would be competition.

Belize people consider themselves ‘creole’ and speak English. This came about after the Spanish and British had a big fight over it and the Brits won. It and the U.S. are the only two countries that speak English. Our guide said “We have almost 320,000 people!”  Wow, the entire country has about the same number of people as Amarillo and Lubbock combined!  Houston’s five million would swallow it.
When she showed the “rich” district of Belize City, it could have been any U.S. neighborhood. Someone asked how much houses cost, she said: “They are very expensive, about $250,000!”  Needless to say a lot of ears perked up on that one. Here is a shot of downtown Belize City:

They are very friendly, and prefer to speak a Creole among themselves. But the country was founded upon the sweat of slaves, who are represented on their flag with a white colonist.  They put metal bars over the windows. When a storm comes, they cut plywood and put it behind the metal, in front of the windows. Wow. The things you learn when traveling…

21 January 2015
This morning we woke up coming into the port on Roatan, Honduras. It is an island about 30 miles off the coast of Honduras.

Above: Roatan, Honduras – Port

The capital of Honduras, Teguichagapa (sp), is the murder capital of the world. A passenger we met last night at dinner pointed out. He was ok with going to Roatan, but he would not want to be on the mainland of Honduras.

The flood of children to the U.S. borders last year came from near here on mainland Honduras (El Salvador, etc.)  – where being a kid on the street means facing of choice of either joining a gang or being killed.  This isn’t what most U.S. kids face or can even contemplate. Many of these gangs started when the U.S. started deporting L.A. gang members, and others like them, back to their home countries such as El Salvador and Honduras.

These thugs took their gang ways with them, and overwhelmed the underpaid police in places like Mexico and Honduras, who are easily corrupted or killed by these gangs now controlling cities in central America.  So that is what bought tens of thousands of mostly children to the U.S. in 2014.  They were fleeing death from gangs created by our deportees.

So, we in fact created our current problem with our own past actions.

Our local guide in Roatan, Samantha, said gas was $4.50 a liter, which would make a gallon near $14 so that can’t be right. But even if its $7 a gallon its more expensive than Belize or the U.S. Roatan does use solar power and we saw a yard where parts of windmills were laid out.

Above: Roatan Honduras port and parts of windmills awaiting assembly.

Standby or “Follow” for updates to my Global American Values blog. Upon my return, the more interesting photos will be posted for online viewing, with explanations.

Right now 1% own over 50% of the GLOBAL income. A mere 85 people own as much as the bottom 3.5 Billion people in the world!  More on this to come! Check out BBC’s “A Richer World” – google it.  Extreme Income inequality threatens our existence.

Since the Bush tax cuts, the wealth transfer has given all the benefits to the top 1% instead of the 99%. It’s why the American Middle Class has been shrinking. Let’s explore the solutions.

Comments are always welcome.