Category Archives: Politics

Congressional “Wounded Knee” : Affordable Care Act

THIS IS WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF LITIGATORS TASKED WITH SOLVING A PROBLEM. 

Everything that is going on in Washington DC, is theatre – in Congress, the Administration and Media.  On one talk show this a.m., people were flinging terms around like principal, strategy, tactic… the difference of… the meaning of… and I’ve had it.  As a professional planner- my life centered around objectives, strategy and tactics for many years.  I lived to the “big objective”.  I participated in strategy discussions and the tactical implementation plans to achieve the objectives and I personally was involved with implementation and execution.

This is what we get when we ask a bunch of litigators to solve a problem.  They’ve made it bigger and worse and enough is enough.   For all those who don’t get “the big picture” — here it is:

Over-arching Objective for more than 50% of the U.S. population is for Congress to rescind the specific “parts” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that are in contention at present

Here is what the American Taxpayer wants Congress and the President to do:

  1. Clearly identify the “parts” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that have achieved consensus – meaning MUTUAL AGREEMENT – across the aisle – and mark GO FOR IMPLEMENTATION,
  2. Clearly identify those “parts” of the ACA that are still in contention, and do not have the “support” in its current form, of the American taxpayer, and members of Congress, and pull them,
  3. Implement and enact those “parts” of the ACA that have the support of, and gained consensus by, the American Taxpayer and both parties of Congress,
  4. and take those “parts” STILL IN CONTENTION back to Congressional desks and hammer it out until you reach consensus across the aisle and re-present to the American people.

This is not about who is winning or losing in Congress or what party is winning or losing or is this a slight against the President.  The American taxpayer is shouldering this — and Congress and the President — IT IS ALL ABOUT US — the ones footing the bill.  NOT YOU.  And we need you all to stop being friggin lawyers and demonstrate an ounce of common sense. All this lip beating about shutting down the government is bull.  DO YOUR JOBS.

A message to Nancy Peolosi :  You personally said “You have to pass it in order to know what’s in it”.  Well, it was a stupid statement then, and it still is.   That was forcing us to agree to and sign a contract without being allowed to read the fine print, make objections and changes, and refine the essence of the agreement and contract.  That was a dark day in this country whether anyone realizes it or not. 

What’s the legal expression? Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware).  In a court of law — if someone used the defense of buying a TERRIBLE SERVICE CONTRACT and wanting to sue the entity they purchased it from, they could not use “I didn’t read the contract” as a legitimate complaint or rationale. It would be thrown out.  Just as “ignorance of the law is no excuse”, the same applies to caveat emptor – it is up to the buyer to be knowledgeable about what they are getting for their money.  It was wrong for Congress to force passage of a law that has financial implication and ramifications – without giving the American Taxpayer the opportunity to understand the short and long term implications and the right to REJECT IT OR REQUEST FURTHER DISTILLATION.    That was wrong then, and it is wrong now.  Period.

So we passed it, we read it and we don’t like all of it IN ITS ENTIRETY,  That doesn’t mean trash the whole thing, and throw tantrums.  That means pull out the stuff that reads bad, is bad, and may need a rewrite and put in motion the stuff that is beneficial and good for the American people.  The American taxpayer should never accept ANY BILL by ANY CONGRESS or ANY PRESIDENT without having the opportunity to personally read (if a person so chooses), change, delete, repeal or support — once they are knowledgeable about all components and implications.  WE ARE PAYING THE BILL, it’s my dollar.   

Now, most do not know that the IRS (if asked in writing) will be furnishing the HHS with taxpayer history that will be used in evaluating what level of care the taxpayer will be able to get.  This a biggy folks.  It’s right out of the mouth of the IRS.  “On Aug. 13, 2013, the Department of the Treasury and the IRS issued final regulations with rules for disclosure of return information to the Department of Health and Human Services that will be used to carry out eligibility determinations for advance payments of the premium tax credit, Medicaid and other health insurance affordability programs. For additional information on the final regulations, see our questions and answers.”

—————————————————————————————————————————————-

Disclaimer:  I read and research Congressional, Treasury, HHS, IRS and Supreme Court rulings and decisions that impact our daily life in terms of taxes, adherence and filing status for the American taxpayer, specifically child care professionals, not-for-profit, individuals, 1099’s and businesses.  I do this as part of my services for one of my clients and, his clients.

Were the Irish sea captains that transported slaves to America?

Yesterday I had a very lively discussion on the subject of racism, the roots of, the source, the difficulty it puts on the US because as long as we are divided by race (whatever that race may be), we will never truly be a “united” nation.

When I was reminiscing about my family background, on a very light scale, it was stated that the Irish transported African slaves.  Without any hesitation, I argued against it – just knowing what little I do of Irish history, but added that I would do a deeper dive, because, it is – a myth and one that must be challenged – if inaccurate.

So, this a.m. with fresh eyes… and instead of using my texts in my home, I put a simple question to Bing … “Were the Irish sea captains that transported slaves to America”.  The subject of slavery as been in practice since so-called civilization started, but to have someone actually say that the Irish were the sea captains that transported slaves … sat poorly.  Why? because based on everything I know, the Irish were dealing with their own set of problems –  to put it mildly.   [Anyone who read Leon Uris’  “Trinity” recalls how it fueled the embers of Irish indignation all over again revisiting Oliver Cromwell in his systematic eradication of nearly 1 million Irish in “service” to the crown.]  But I wanted new information – I wanted to search THE WEB and see what came up.   My search yielded lots of good stuff on the subject and let’s start with one interesting blog, http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-the-great-the-egyptian-hercules/the-irish-slave-trade-forgotten-white-slaves/.  End note:  I decided to dive a little deeper into this site – because I wanted to learn more about the author (and authors) as well as read some of the subjects and comments.  Wow… there are some very heated discussions – worth reading. It appears no subject is off limits— and just one more source to consider for perspective.

Another source wrote Irish indentured labour in the Caribbean, and last, is
England’s Irish Slaves – http://www.ewtn.com/library/HUMANITY/SLAVES.TXT

No one should be a slave – not then, not now, not ever.  But as long as there are humans who want to exert their power over others … slavery will exist.  It is done the disguise of religion, culture, family, whatever.  Subjugation is subjugation. 

Racism and the IRS

The reason I want to introduce the IRS into the equation is because I see inconsistencies in our daily lives.  In one stream of conversation, we are talking about people, voting, identification, racism, discrimination, etc.  A new stream is about the IRS and what it is doing to get information on taxpayers.  Very probative stuff.  How do I know?  My client is a tax specialist and I am reading about taxes, tax law, tax enforcement, tax deliverables, tax questionnaires that are all IRS generated.  Why is this relevant?  Because right now, 100,000 households in CA have been sent a head of household questionnaire where they will have to prove their head of household status.  It is going to small business owners that have in-home businesses… it is probative and it is mandatory.  These taxpayers will have to prove who they are – and their status.  Now, let’s go back to voting.  Producing ID is an issue for some about being eligible to vote.  Jurisdictions, geography, convenience.  Then why don’t we all feel the same about adhering to the IRS stuff.  It’s a command… YOU MUST RETURN THIS BY.  It’s not a suggestion – it is a requirement.  Some homes may get audited.  Because the IRS doesn’t trust us… and btw, you do know that the IRS adheres to roman law and not civil law.  You are guilty until proven innocent.

If we are ever going to get anywhere in this great nation of ours – we have to have basic ground rules for what it is we are talking about.  If the white race is going to take on the responsibility – of all the ages – of all the discrimination – like girls not being able to own land, or transfer of ownership of property or money (as in the English and Irish history)… discrimination has gone on through the ages across colors and ancestry.  I’m watching it in Africa right now – along with genocide that no one seems to be noticing… but if we in the United States who are white and want this discussion to stop and go away … we need to make a commitment to make it happen.  At the same time, I want and expect the Black community to give me achievable objectives that I can actually make happen.  Not a blanket statement that I can’t do anything with.  If I am going to assume ownership of racism – I expect to be able to assume ownership to making changes.  In order to do that, I need to know what changes need to be made.  I am not articulate on the subject.  There are going to be multiple sides — the key is coming to a agreeable solution and answer.  If we can’t do that, we’re screwed.

BENGHAZI

STAND DOWN.

These two words changed the destiny of 4 Americans on the Anniversary of September 11, 2001.

Speaking from experience, in any company that has international offices and presence around the world, that may or may not have DOD connections –  through the course of normal business – received daily reports about travel around the world.  Daily updates on regional alerts that impact travel safety for AMERICANS.

Right now… out there… are companies who have an inbox of these alerts. Right now, I’ll bet major corporations like Cisco, General Dynamics, AT&T, IBM, Kyocera, who get these updates from US GOVT advising them where to avoid, where social unrest is being measured, precautions that should be taken, restrictions and advisories.  I want to see those alerts from the weeks preceding 9/11.  Know why THE US GOVT does this?  Because they don’t want Americans AT RISK or providing “targets of opportunity” for kidnapping, etc.  How do I know this?  Because I used to get them for my company and it was my responsibility to communicate them across the appropriate channels of the organization – worldwide.

After PA Flight 103 – Lockerbie –  our company completely revised its policy and practices.  No more than two executives were allowed to be on any one flight.  Routes, times, dress were all revised for safety. That is when air travel stopped being “fun”.  That’s when international started to get dangerous.  In fact, in certain locations, travel was suspended or rerouted.  These advisories that our government provides businesses were taken seriously.  It was our government’s responsibility to ensure its citizen’s safety – especially businesses.

Now I am being asked to accept that no directives instructing extraordinary measures of precaution should be taken for every US Embassy and significant “interests” around the world on the weeks and days leading up to 9/11 .  Professionally speaking — this is beyond astounding – it is dereliction of duty.

It is my opinion, that this administration permitted its ideology to become the fate of 4 Americans without their permission.

Would Chris Stevens have signed a contract that had a clause that read:

And in the event of an attack, seizure, threat, bombing and/or breech … you and your staffers cannot expect any reasonable rescue efforts on the part of the United States Government.  Your signature authorizes us to abandon you and any others who become collateral damage because we don’t want the American people to know that Libya is a dismal failure.  As part of your package, we enclose the death benefits your survivors will receive should the above occur.   

PLEASE DO NOT EXPECT ME TO ACCEPT THIS BULLSHIT.

Benghazi and the truth

RitaGlynnSmith

San%20Diego_03I’m listening and truly disturbed by what I am hearing.  I am even more perturbed by the labels that are immediately assigned to someone who is wanting accountability.  All need to be accountable – however high, however low, on the food chain (or chain of command).

I am personally involved because I too experienced what it is like to wait for the cavalry to show up – and it doesn’t happen.  Under the Bush Administration – San Diego burned – out of control – for 9 days.  Most people don’t even remember … but we were surrounded by fire.  More than 750,000 acres of land burned.  14 people died, wildlife died in the millions.  I explain it to people who can’t get their arms around the numbers, like this, “… if you only had one bunny, per acre, we lost 750,000.  If you only had 1 of anything there – we lost at the…

View original post 544 more words

Anatomy of an Election

I was listening to Bill Bennett’s Morning in America http://www.billbennett.com and the level of call-ins that included self-flagellation and dissection over election results.  Clearly there is a segment of our population that is not happy this morning.  This blog has nothing to do with content or principles of the GOP or Republican/Conservative party that runs the gamut of extreme right through to moderates, independents and even includes just-left-of-centers like me.

The question is what didn’t work, what wasn’t said, who didn’t hear us, why didn’t we win?  WHAT WENT WRONG?

More than six months ago, when the conservative talk radio was asking “what does the Republican Party need to do to be successful.  I said the Republican Party needs to control the message.  They need to use social media and all medias to engage the population.  There is a “lesson learned” here, and I hope someone of influence reads this and takes it forward.

I am not going to say what the GOP did wrong.  I am going to say what the Obama Campaign did RIGHT.  THEY CONTROLLED THE CONVERSATION.

They used every source of medium available.  They took their *candidate* and made him a *Personality* that many in the right of center felt was un-Presidential.  On the other hand, conservative talk radio would continue to ask “what is missing… what is that *thing* that isn’t being communicated?”

PERSONALITY.

Empty chair, empty suit?  Yeah – but he wasn’t selling anything other than his re-election.  He was selling his personality, his likability, his appeal.  The campaign used the corresponding medias that would reach the targeted audiences.  This isn’t rocket science… this is marketing 101.

They put Obama on the late night circuit so it would be a positive image the last thing at night, since many people use Letterman, Leno, etc., to fall asleep.
Then also had him on the early morning talk circuit to be one of the first positive images and conversation as people got ready for work.  These weren’t interviews, guys.  These were stumps.  They controlled the imagery, the packaging, the delivery, the content, the depth and the conversation.  The segment they were talking are not cable news sycophants of CNN, Fox, MSNBC, etc.  They use late shows to drift off, and the morning shows to get local coverage, weather and a touch of world news as they ready for work.

There are countless examples of what can be used for *lessons learned* … but if the GOP and future candidates want to excel and succeed — they need to control the conversation – and they need to get better at understanding the new rules of marketing.  Until they do…

In Search of Level 5 Leadership … still

In 2001 and again in 2005, Jim Collins wrote about the attributes and characteristics of what makes for great leadership.  In his book Good to Great, he articulates the 5 levels of leadership, culminating with the absolute top being the individuals who could take companies, turn them around, and bring them to a position of market leaders.  I had initially intended to write about this on my business blog (because it is worth repeating and referencing over again), and then as I was reviewing my notes, etc., it occurred to me that I want that exact same caliber in the President of the United States.  Nothing less.   Here are the 5 levels of leadership as defined by Collins.

1. Highly Capable Individual:  Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills and good work habits,

2. Contributing Team Member: Contributes to the achievement of group objectives; works effectively with others in a   group setting,

3.Competent Manager: Organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives,

4. Effective Leader: Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision; stimulates the group to a high performance standards,

5. Executive: Builds enduring greatess through a paradoxical combination of personal humility plus professional will.

Got it?  Personal humility plus professional will.

So I am going to write about the political landscape right now.  For instance, Newt Gingrich.  IMHO Newt Gingrich suffers from extreme conceit and hubris.  Regardless of the fact he may have some really good ideas… one has to cut through the arrogance to get to any quality material.  His appeal lessened as his arrogance, condescension and hubris increased (or became visible).  Big turnoff.

“The great irony is that the animus and personal ambition that often drives people to become a Level 4 Leader stands at odds with the humility required to rise to Level 5.”  (HBR, 2005)

I expect my president to be a Level 5.  I want that personal humility coupled with some damn good business sense and a set of interpersonal skills that permits you to successfully imbue your constituents with a sense of confidence.  That has not happened for me in many years.  Enough with the on-the-job-training.  Where’s the meat?

I know it distresses some folk that I am not a fan of Obama, despite the fact that I have very liberal leanings.  Why would I? He does not possess – for me – the qualities that I am looking for in a President … of the United States …or in business.  I have worked with and for – a lot of executives over the years. Some were so full of themselves that they had no room for anything else.  Their arrogance and conceit was staggering.  I would watch these *leaders* proclaim their value, their significance and their importance.  I also watched their replacement say the same thing. (ahem).

In fact, in 13 years, I had 15 different *executive managers* … who got their jobs mostly because they were part of the *new deal* and were friends of someone in a high authority.  We used to joking use a fill-in-the-blank.  Meet ___ ____ “friend of ______” whoever was at the helm.  Of the 15 executive managers I worked with and for, only a handful had the ethics that I thought was truly admirable, and I felt honored to learn from and work with, them.  None of them were President of the United States material.

Now let’s talk about Obama.  He is quick to regurgitate the ills of the previous administration (now in his 4th year) and how they all contributed to the problems we are experiencing TODAY.  Not him, not his decisions, it’s always the other guys fault.  He may possess the sparkling repartee to be what some might consider witty when he is questioned about something… but in these 4 years I have gone from hoping for the best to sick of the SOS.  I turn him off now, just like I did Bush.  He isn’t a businessman and possesses no real knowledge (first hand) of what it takes to make a business work.  He was a community organizer.  I felt he was a lightweight to start (and I am going to be doing a deep dive into his practical experience.  Meaning, he has experience first hand.  In many ways, he reminds me of a conversation I had with my own mom.  We were talking about the traits, characteristics, talent that is passed down through the generations – and I said “Ma, how come when I do something great its because I got that from this relative or that from another relative but when I screw up, that’s all mine?
In other words — Obama using the haunt that our current day ills are hangovers from 5 years ago… that doesn’t say much for the change that has been made.  The fact that he would close his eyes to global wrongs that are taking place and put a floodlight on others of lesser significance, shocks me.  I expect my president to be able to say IMHO – as President – your actions are wrong.  If he can’t  then he needs to get another job.  But most important – of what I do know about Obama and path to the White House, nothing made him qualified as Illinois Senatorial candidate in 2004 to President of the United States – in 4 years.  He must have one helluva angel on his shoulder – or he had really good help.

I am sick and tired of dealing with BS artists – in business and in politics.  I have heard more succession speeches that I care to.  I have seen rotational mgmt. teams as a result of poor performance — that are just compounded by much of the same.  When they are all standing *center stage* what they say sounds good.  It includes all the right things.  Their speech has been worked and reworked with key words and triggers to evoke the response they desire.  It always sounds rehearsed because it is rehearsed.

There is no way Obama gained enough knowledge to be a great (or even good) president.  4 years?  Who decided to start grooming this young man?  Who decided that he would change the playing field? Someone did.  He went from being a Senatorial Candidate to President in 4 years. He had no experience other than limited in a community organizer capacity. I need to believe it was something other than his being a man of color that made him a *potential* candidate material.  I feel Obama was part of the DNC succession planning, vetting of potential *high performers* (just like the RNC is already looking at their future prospects and *high performers*).  I believe he was selected early on, groomed and promoted as the acronym for change.  I do not feel he has been a good president and certainly do not feel he possess the characteristics that a Level 5 Leader has.

But not to make this about just Obama… I did not care for Rick Santorium (sp?), I haven’t even considered Romney as of this writing, though I  did like – initially – Herman Cain – because of what I did know, I felt he had his hand on the pulse.  Unfotunately he was in to taking the pulse of others too.  Bad.  Just plain ol bad.  Here’s my two cents advice to current candidates and future candidates.  If you even suspect SLIGHTLY that you may want to run for public office… understand that your life – your actions, your decisions or non-decisions – will be examined (as they should be).  The Presidency is something of a fabulous thing we have.  We’re giving someone the opportunity to do what is in OUR BEST INTEREST.  Not drive it into the ground like so many Level 4 Leaders who destroy companies with bad management decisions and an over inflated sense of importance.  ENOUGH.

I personally feel that anyone who serves more than 1 term in any position becomes a politician.  Not a democrat, not a republican… a politician as in the days of antiquity.  Career politicians – living off the people… who have kept them in the lifestyle they have grown accustomed to.