Why I hit the Lottery…

Lottery-winner_parking_spots_at_the_Atlantic_Lottery_Corporation_(2009)I’ve hit the lottery (see below), but not for the reasons to which our President espouses. I’m a small business owner. I started a business 27 years ago and we’re still here. According to the president, it must be dumb luck!

The president thinks hard working people who make a lot of money have won the lottery. Obama says, “If we can’t ask for society’s lottery winners for that modest contribution, then really this conversation is all for show,” he told the Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit.

This latest on successful businesses, coupled with Obama’s well worn rhetoric, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” referring to private businesses being dependent of big government is daunting to hard working small business owners, to say the least.

Why I hit the Lottery…

I want to get up in the morning.

I have a spouse and family whom I love and they love me.

Through hard work and healthy living we are well and we want for nothing.

I am a Christian, There is a God. I have my faith.

I’m living free, in the greatest country in the world, the United States of America.

I find great joy in giving generously, to charities and other great causes.

I’m proud of my accomplishments. Like most small business owners, I create and grow good paying jobs.

I believe in the human spirit and American exceptionalism. Despite many setbacks over time, there have been more wins.

I believe most people are inherently good.

Job creators, entrepreneurs, and business owners who are successful should not be demeaned by our President. He implicitly associates success with the cause for income inequality and racism.

In a Forbes article as a point of reference, says small, entrepreneurial firms account for two-thirds of the job creation in the economy, venture-backed firms contribute 11% of U.S. private sector jobs and 21% of GDP, and high-tech firms are a mainstay of U.S. exports.

As a taxpayer, I’d be much more receptive to Obama’s argument if there weren’t so much wasteful spending, abuse of power, and inequity in big government. Pick your department. Start with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Small Business Owners – Making Millions, of Jobs That Is…

Obama - Biden Entreprenever_edited-1President Obama, you coined the phrase “middle class economics” as one of your latest “camplaign” appeals.

I coined the phrase “Entreprenever” for you.

Mr. Obama, you have never been an entrepreneur.  You are successful beyond the imagination of most people’s dreams.  You are obviously a highly talented and intelligent person. You have a loving family.

You have a loyal and caring following… then here comes the but, at least not until, and unless, you are willing to walk in a small business owner’s shoes, you’re politics hurt small business owners.

I’m an entrepreneur.  I’m not a millionaire, but job growth is a constant in my business. There are a lot of small business entrepreneurs out there earning millions in taxable revenues for their small businesses, who aren’t millionaires.  They’re making jobs, not millions.  Why not millions of dollars? Too many regulations, too many taxes, too much big government getting in the way.

Small Business Owners make millions of jobs, not millions of dollars! That’s what I call “American Exceptionalism.”

Mr. President, if you truly want to help the middle class, help small businesses grow and hire more people.  They’re your middle class economy.  There are many up and coming millionaires that are making products, providing services and creating jobs.  They should be paying less taxes, NOT more, than they do today.

Small businesses want to invest their income in products, services and jobs, not squandered on meeting meaningless regulatory bureaucratic “make work.”  Call it unintended consequences, but I don’t think you really care, or you care more about bureaucratic jobs than you do about free enterprise jobs?  Free enterprise better defines “middle class economics” than big government any day!

Free enterprise defines middle class economics” better than big government any day!!

Small businesses that file their taxes as individuals need lower income tax rates, even at the top income brackets, so that we receive a fair return for the risk we take to grow our businesses.  In my case, growing a successful business from 1 to 40 FTEs required; cashing in all my savings, a second mortgage on the house, personal loans from friends and family, 12-14 hour days, no PTO or vacations for the first 10-12 years. The mortgage on my house was $100K when I bought the house.  Twenty-five years later after loans, it is still over $200K.  If I’m not successful, that will be my legacy to my children, not your children.

Before you insert your platitudes about every American giving their fair share, you’re too intelligent to believe our current entitlement society, including illegal immigrants choking our medical, educational and government resources, is fair to hard working legal US CITIZENS.

The failure rate for small businesses like my own is one success in five failures.  So where is your reward at the end of the tunnel?  Higher taxes.   You don’t care, but higher taxes on small business owners prevent further investment in their business,  reduces the chances of paying off outstanding loans and lost income due to lack of cash flow.

I didn’t have a 401K or savings account for over 10 years.  I don’t have a huge stock portfolio, a second home, fancy cars or take Alaskan cruises… well OK,  I did take an Alaskan cruise with my wife,  It was awesome!  Should I thank you Mr. President?  Higher taxes is how you, our President rewards hard work, ingenuity and innovation.  That’s why I coined the phrase for you, President Obama, Entreprenever.

Yes, I’ve seen the news stories about this small business and that small business, who obtained and SBA loan or some other government handout.  Good for them!  That’s great theater.  That’s great politics!  You’re the best!

I’m not going to get into the weeds on excessive regulation and the politics here.  There are plenty of people capable of doing so.  Of this I am certain.  You’ve never run a business, certainly not a small business, and certainly never had to put your life’s savings on the line for a small business.

Mr. Obama, you’re ticket’s already been punched.  You’ve already made millions.  You stand to make millions more.  Maybe you already have, so what’s my point?  My point is you can never say you are for the little guy, the small business owner, end of story.

For all the Rich and Famous liberals out there that make millions and billions, mind your own f$$$$n” business!! If you want to raise taxes on people, think about small business owners versus our government’s track record in making money.  You’re pretty good at it, why don’t you get it!!!

We’re $18 Trillion in debt.  You could let big government spend more money on the backs of hard-working small business people, as well as, their employees and their families.  You could push for lower taxes on small business owners or you could just put you money where your mouth is…

Send your contributions to:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Much obliged!

Sincerely,

The ideacapitalist

Small Business Owner

To Reboot the Economy – Technology Is Where the Jobs Are.

toothbrush

Hate to break the news, but there are more people with cell phones in the world than with toothbrushes.

Still today in many classrooms, the main instructional technology is literally a piece of yellowish limestone rock scraped across a larger black slate…this too, time must erase.

Unfortunately, our educational progress has stalled reflected in stagnating wages and fewer jobs. The median worker is not keeping up with cutting-edge technologies.  Below are some good options for those with the desire and aptitude to learn something new and earn a good living.

Still today in many classrooms, the main instructional technology is literally a piece of yellowish limestone rock scraped across a larger black slate…this too, must pass.

toothless

Even this guy owns a smart phone!

Free community college, unless substantially retooled for the 21st century will fail both students and employers alike.

According to IDC (International Data Corp) – Between Now and 2020…  there will be 44X the growth in information BUT… only 1.4X growth in IT professionals.

Web and application software developers using the latest development tools, such as learning code in HTML5 are in high demand in almost every industry.  Schools focused on teaching software development either online for as little as $25 per month or brick and mortar in most major metropolitan areas can provide effective and practical education at very reasonable rates.

responsive

PC ——————————–Tablet————– Cell Phone

A combination of graphic design and programming skills are in high demand.  The industry calls them UX developers who have skills for building websites, applications for mobile devices where the need for the best utilization and presentation within the screen display using development techniques such as Responsive Design, is at a premium.

treehouse online education

The Treehouse is an online school that we can personally recommend as we have FTEs who have taken courses in their free time. The Treehouse is designed to teach you developer skills at your own pace.  For as little as $25 per month you can learn online.  Their claim is you can Learn from over 1000 videos created by our expert teachers on web design, coding, business, and much more. Their   library is continually refreshed with the latest on web technology so you’ll never fall behind.  You can practice what you’ve learned through quizzes and interactive Code Challenges. This style of practicing will allow you to retain information you’ve learned so you can apply it to your own future projects.

the iron yardAnother example of a way to learn is to find a school focused on web design and software development, schools like the The Iron Yard.  While tuition is $12,000 for a 12 week program, full-time employment would quickly payoff as salaries would start in the $50K range.  They have financing options and scholarships available.

President Obama, Get With the Program! Free Online Education!

Hey President Obama “Google” free online education.

When we have a balanced budget amendment to address our $18 Trillion debt, repealed Obamacare, closed the borders and allowed Congress to pass an Immigration policy so illegals aren’t jamming our education system like they do our emergency rooms, then maybe taxpayers will decide to listen when you want to spend our money. Here are a few of the best free online academies.  I’m sure there are more…

Free online educationhttps://www.khanacademy.org/

For free. For everyone. Forever.

Take control of your learning by working on the skills you choose at your own pace.

——————————————————————————————————————————

Free online education 1

https://www.coursera.org/

Take the world’s best courses,

online, for free.

Join 10,985,469 Courserians

Learn from 895 courses, from our 117 partners.

Coursera provides universal access to the world’s best education, partnering with top universities and organizations to offer courses for anyone to take, for free.

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

Free online education 2https://www.edx.org/

Take great online courses from the world’s best universities

EdX offers interactive online classes and MOOCs from the world’s best universities, colleges and organizations. Online courses from MITx, HarvardX, BerkeleyX, UTx and many other universities. Topics include biology, business, chemistry, computer science, economics, finance, electronics, engineering, food and nutrition, history, humanities, law, literature, math, medicine, music, philosophy, physics, science, statistics and more. EdX is a non-profit online initiative created by founding partners Harvard and MIT.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

Students interested in registering should go to the course websites listed below or to the Stanford Online website, where updates will be available as new courses appear.

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free stuffPresident Obama’s new free education initiative reminds me of the email circulating around the internet Free Stuff! 

2014 US Climate Report (is a Big Fat Lie)

Idea Capitalist:

al-gore-global-warming-hoax1-455x390Obama: “The debate [over climate change] is settled.”

That statement should be the “lie of the year,” and yet no one challenges the lie for fear of ridicule.  We all want a safer, cleaner, more vibrant planet to live in but not at the expense of common sense and reason.

The debate is far from over.  Freedom of speech is precious.  Paid for by the blood of hundreds of thousands of brave fighting men and women and a country of people who believe in truly democratic society, freedom is priceless.  Unfortunately freedom of speech has been compromised and severely curtailed due to lack of media coverage and unfair public commentary from over-zealous celebrity sound bites.  Their man-made climate change agenda (claims) paid for by influence peddlers.

Real people look up to people they have invited into their hearts and into their living rooms. The media outlets represent a modern-day, overwhelmingly effective form of communication and persuasion.  For this reason, as a person of influence, the mainstream media and celebrities should hold themselves to a higher standard, both in temperament and by example.  As people of influence and public figures, they’re responsible for their words and their actions in public.  For that very reason, there should be a real debate over the science of global warming, not a simple consensus of like minded liberals, the mainstream media and the Obama Administration and EPA.  News Flash! Man-made climate change is not settled!   Read more below…

Originally posted on Real Science:

Driving to work on Thursday, I heard NCDC announce that 2014 was hotter than normal in the US for the 18th consecutive year, and that it was an extreme climate year.

ScreenHunter_5904 Jan. 10 06.10

ScreenHunter_5905 Jan. 10 06.22

State of the Climate | National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)

This is nonsense. Before data tampering, the US was below normal, as were four of the last seven years.

ScreenHunter_5902 Jan. 10 06.06

In order to create their fake US temperature graph, they massively alter the data

ScreenHunter_5802 Jan. 05 11.57

Including completely fabricating 30% of the monthly data, which they say is missing.

ScreenHunter_5803 Jan. 05 12.00

The net result of their tampering is to create a warming trend which does not exist in the data – as seen in the animation below.

USHCNTampering2014

More than two thirds of the states were below normal temperature. West Virginia was 2C below normal.

ScreenHunter_5900 Jan. 10 06.00ScreenHunter_5899 Jan. 10 05.59

Last12mTDeptUS

Current Climate Summary Maps – Powered by ACIS – High Plains Regional Climate Center

The ratio of record lows to…

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Have We Been Grubered? How Does Medicaid Expansion Affect All of Us?

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/9b2/29931098/files/2014/12/img_1184-0.jpg I’m not in the medical profession. I’m a CEO of a software company with 40 FTEs concerned about big government and taxes.

A recent article in the NYTs As Medicaid Rolls Swell, Cuts in Payments to Doctors Threaten Access to Care

I’m also concerned about everyone’s welfare, including the uninsured. So pardon my naïveté.

Here’s my take. Hospitals were caring for the uninsured for free. Now they get something, but less each year, but it’s still more than nothing. The argument being with the ACA now they have to contend with more patients who can’t afford healthcare and the end result being it ends up costing hospitals more than nothing because of the increase in the number of people seeking care. Which is a good thing for the uninsured, right?

Unless the ACA a.k.a., Obamacare, a.k.a. Big Government, pulls a sleight of hand, reducing the Medicaid reimbursable to the extent large hospitals will only survive in a single payer system and smaller hospitals and practitioners are the losers forced to join larger institutions if they want to survive. What’s obvious is many talented practitioners get screwed.

On the other hand, I guess what I am suggesting is, it’s not apparent to me or most people, whether the ACA is helping people or hurting people. Certainly I oppose a big government takeover of our healthcare system.

What’s not apparent to me is how we take care of the uninsured/or recently indoctrinated Medicaid patients and still provide the best healthcare system in the world.

Researchers Find Northeast Pacific Surface Warming (1900-2012) Caused By Changes in Atmospheric Circulation, NOT Manmade Forcings

Idea Capitalist:

Progression_of_the_2012-2014_historic_California_drought,_from_December_2013_to_July_2014It appears the debate is not over. For years global warmists, a.k.a. climate change activist and the alphabet soup of the mainstream media have been pointing tot he drought in California as irrefutable evidence man-made CO2 emissions are the primary cause of drought conditions and extreme weather. Now there is science to contradict their claims.

Who wouldn’t agree lowering CO2 emissions is a good idea, but not the way the Obama Administration and his EPA is doing it, which is on the backs of ordinary taxpayers.

Originally posted on Watts Up With That?:

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

UPDATE:  See the update at the end of the post. One of the authors of the paper has joined us here at WUWT.

# # #

This is a revisit of a paper already discussed in the WUWT post Surprising PNAS paper: CO2 emissions not the cause of U.S. West Coast warming. We’re revisiting it because it relates to the record high global surface temperatures in 2014. There already has been and there continues to be a lot of misinformation about those record highs in the months to come, so this is another post intended to counter that misinformation.

The extraordinary sea surface temperatures of the Northeast Pacific are known to be responsible for the record high global surface temperatures in 2014. (See the post Axel Timmermann and Kevin Trenberth Highlight the Importance of Natural Variability in Global Warming… and the post On…

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Google billionaires request $539 million federal bailout after spending $1.6 billion of “stimulus” funding on failed solar power project

Idea Capitalist:

google ivanpahThis is all about Obama and his kickbacks to his campaign donors. Ivanpah is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the billions of taxpayer funded stimulus dollars spent on failed Greentech. You can blame CEOs of corporations for their greed but in the end they have to answer to their stockholders. I would expect no less from corporations, but a whole lot more from our POTUS.

ROMNEY to OBAMA in 2012 Presidential debate: “…you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers…”

romney

Romney – click on Romney to hear video

Romney said i n the debate, “And in one year you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world. Now, I like green energy as well, but that’s about 50 year’s worth of what oil and gas receives and you say Exxon Mobil, actually this $2.8 billion goes to small companies, to drilling operators and so forth. If we get the tax rate from 35% to 25%, why that $2.8 billion is on the table.  Of course it’s on the table. That’s probably not going to survive to get the rate down to 25% but don’t forget, you put $90 billion, like 50 years worth of breaks into solar and wind to solar and wind, to Solyndra and Fisker and Tesla and I had a friend who said you don’t just pick the winners and losers, you pick the losers. This is not the kind of policy you want to have to get America energy secure.

Originally posted on Dan from Squirrel Hill's Blog:

Ivanpah is a solar power company owned by Google, BrightSource Energy, and NRG.

In April 2011, as part of Obama’s “stimulus,” Obama gave Ivanpah a $1.6 billion loan guarantee to build a solar power plant.

In November 2014, when the plant was up and running, Associated Press reported that it was producing only “about half of its expected annual output.” The California Energy Commission blamed this failure on “clouds, jet contrails, and weather.”

In November 2014, Ivanpah asked Obama for a $539 million bailout.

Google is owned by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. At the time they requested this $539 million bailout, Page was the 19th richest person in the world, with assets of $30.4 billion, and Brin was the 20th richest person in the world, with assets of $30 billion.

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Alternative Energy: Should other nations follow Germany’s lead on promoting solar power?

tragicomic sad-happy

Tragicomic

Answer posted on Quora by Ryan Carlyle, BSChE, Subsea Hydraulics Engineer (Reposted with permission)

The answer is the most forceful possible no. Solar power itself is a good thing, but Germany’s pro-renewables policy has been a disaster. It has the absurd distinction of completing the trifecta of bad energy policy:

  1. Bad for consumers
  2. Bad for producers
  3. Bad for the environment (yes, really; I’ll explain)

Pretty much the only people who benefit are affluent home-owners and solar panel installation companies. A rising tide of opposition and resentment is growing among the German press and public.

I was shocked to find out how useless, costly, and counter-productive their world-renowned energy policy has turned out. This is a serious problem for Germany, but an even greater problem for the rest of the world which hopes to follow in their footsteps. The first grand experiment in renewable energy is a catastrophe! The vast scale of the failure has only started to become clear over the past year or so. So I can forgive renewables advocates for not realizing it yet — but it’s time for the green movement to do a 180 on this.

Some awful statistics before I get into the details:

  • Germany is widely considered the global leader in solar power, with over a third of the world’s nameplate (peak) solar power capacity. [1] Germany has over twice as much solar capacity per capita as sunny, subsidy-rich, high-energy-cost California. (That doesn’t sound bad, but keep going.)
  • Germany’s residential electricity cost is about $0.34/kWh, one of the highest rates in the world. About $0.07/kWh goes directly to subsidizing renewables, which is actually higher than the wholesale electricity price in Europe. (This means they could simply buy zero-carbon power from France and Denmark for less than they spend to subsidize their own.) More than 300,000 households per year are seeing their electricity shut off because they cannot afford the bills. Many people are blaming high residential prices on business exemptions, but eliminating them would save households less than 1 euro per month on average. Billing rates are predicted by the government to rise another 40% by 2020. [2]
  • Germany’s utilities and taxpayers are losing vast sums of money due to excessive feed-in tariffs and grid management problems. The environment minister says the cost will be one trillion euros (~$1.35 trillion) over the next two decades if the program is not radically scaled back. This doesn’t even include the hundreds of billions it has already cost to date. [3] Siemens, a major supplier of renewable energy equipment, estimated in 2011 that the direct lifetime cost of Energiewende through 2050 will be $4.5 trillion, which means it will cost about 2.5% of Germany’s GDP for 50 years straight. [4] That doesn’t include economic damage from high energy prices, which is difficult to quantify but appears to be significant.
  • Here’s the truly dismaying part: the latest numbers show Germany’s carbon output and global warming impact is actually increasing[5] despite flat economic output and declining population, because of ill-planned “renewables first” market mechanisms. This regime is paradoxically forcing the growth of dirty coal power. Photovoltaic solar has a fundamental flaw for large-scale generation in the absence of electricity storage — it only works for about 5-10 hours a day. Electricity must be produced at the exact same time it’s used. [29] The more daytime summer solar capacity Germany builds, the more coal power they need for nights and winters as cleaner power sources are forced offline. [6] This happens because excessive daytime solar power production makes base-load nuclear plants impossible to operate, and makes load-following natural gas plants uneconomical to run. Large-scale PV solar power is unmanageable without equally-large-scale grid storage, but even pumped-storage hydroelectricity facilities are being driven out of business by the severe grid fluctuations. They can’t run steadily enough to operate at a profit. [2,7] Coal is the only non-subsidized power source that doesn’t hemorrhage money now. [8] The result is that utilities must choose between coal, blackouts, or bankruptcy. Which means much more pollution.

So it sucks on pretty much every possible level. If you’re convinced by these facts, feel free to stop reading now, throw me an upvote, and go on about your day. This is going to get long — I haven’t even explained the half of it yet. There are lots of inter-related issues here, and the more you get into them, the worse the picture gets.

Issue 1: Wrong place, wrong tech to start the green revolution

Renewables advocates constantly hold up Germany as an example of how large-scale rooftop solar power is viable. But the problem is, Germany’s emphasis on solar power is bad policy. I’m pretty sure other countries can do solar better, but that isn’t saying much because German solar is just awful. To be blunt, it’s a stupid place for politicians to push solar panels. I was there all last week for a work meeting and I didn’t see the sun the entire time. From talking to the locals, it’s overcast for about a third of the year in the region near Hanover where I was staying. Their solar resource is simply bad, nearly the worst of any well-populated region in the world:

Annual Solar Irradiance

Between the northern latitude, the grey weather, and the Alps blocking much of the diffused morning sunlight from the south, Germany is a terrible place for solar power. When you put the US side-by-side on the same scale, you realize that Germany has the same solar power potential as dismal Alaska, even worse than rain-soaked Seattle:

Solar Radiation Map

I look at this and ask, “what on earth are they thinking?” They couldn’t have picked a worse generation technology for their climate.

But most people seem to look at it and say, “if Germany is investing so much in solar power, then it’s obvious the US should build solar panels too.” I insist we examine the contrapositive: if solar power is only taking off slowly in the US, even with significant subsidies/incentives and one of the world’s best solar resources, then the Germans should be building even less solar capacity. It’s clear their market must be severely distorted for them to pursue such a sub-optimal energy policy.

You’re welcome to disagree with my thought process here, but the simplest proof can be seen in the capacity factor, which is the percent of the nameplate capacity that is actually generated over the course of a year. The existence of nighttime means solar capacity factors must be less than 50%, and when you add clouds, dawn, dusk, dust, and non-optimal installations, 18% is the average capacity factor for panels in the continental US. [9] In contrast, Germany’s total solar capacity factor in 2011 was under 9%! [1]

German residential solar panel installations today cost about $2.25/watt capacity, [10] versus a hair over $5/watt in the US. [11] (Numbers vary over a considerable range. Most of this is labor/permitting costs.) But German panels generate less than half as much actual power over time. So when you normalize the panel install cost by capacity factor, US and German solar power generation are already at cost parity. The payback periods for solar investments are about the same in California and Germany. This is surprising to most solar advocates, who tend to blame higher costs for the low uptake rates in the US. But system economics alone do not explain disparities in installation rates.

So why does Germany have 16 times as much nameplate panel capacity per capita as the US? [12] Yes, permitting is much easier there, but that’s mostly captured by the $/watt costs since installation companies usually pull the permits. And I don’t think the German people are that much more pro-environment than the rest of the world. There’s no good reason for the disparity that I can find — it ought to swing the opposite way. Solar just isn’t a good power source for a cold, dark country that has minimal daytime air conditioning load. Solar in Phoenix, Arizona makes sense, but not in Frankfurt. The only conclusion I can come to is that Germany’s solar power boom is being driven entirely by political distortions. The growth of solar is not economically justified, nor can it continue without massive political interference in power markets.

Many people are surprised to hear that Germany only gets a tiny 2.0% of its total energy / 4.6% of its electricity from solar power (in 2012). [5,13] All the headlines about new records on peak summer days make it seem more like 50%. Despite all the cost and pain and distortions, PV solar has turned out to be a very ineffective way of generating large amounts of energy. They could have generated at least four times as much carbon-free power via new nuclear plants for the same cost. [14] (Nuclear would have been a better option for a lot of reasons. I’ll get to that later.)

With subsidies for new solar systems phasing out over the next 5 years, solar growth has already started to decline. The installation rate peaked and is now dropping. [13, 15] Despite falling panel and installation costs, the majority of new German solar projects are expected to stop when subsidies end. They’re already on the downward side of the technology uptake bell curve:

(Data after 2008 from [14], prior to 2008 from Wikipedia)

If you pay close attention, all the pro-solar advocates are still using charts with data that stops after 2011. That’s because 2011 was the last year solar was growing exponentially. Using data through July 2013 and official predictions for the rest of this year, it’s now clear that solar is not on an exponential growth curve. It’s actually on an S-curve like pretty much every other technology, ever. Limitless exponential growth doesn’t exist in the physical world. [13]

Also note the huge gap on that graph between the actual generation and the nameplate capacity. That’s where the miserable capacity factor comes in. (I think this is the source of a lot of misplaced optimism about solar’s growth rate.) Green media outlets only report solar power either in peak capacity or as percent of consumption on sunny summer days. Both of these measurements must be divided by about 10 to get the true output throughout the year.

In reality, solar is scaling up much slower than conventional energy sources scaled up in the past, despite solar receiving more government support. This graph shows the growth rate of recent energy transitions in the first 10 years after each source reached grid scale (1% of total supply):

[13]

I think this chart is the best way to make an apples-to-apples comparison of uptake rates. Only about a quarter of the “renewables” line is due to solar (the majority is biomass, wind, and trash incineration). So the true solar growth rate from 2001-2011 is only 1/4th as fast as nuclear from 1974-1984, and 1/6th as fast as natural gas from 1965-1975. [13]

When a new energy source is genuinely better than the old energy sources, it grows fast. Solar is failing to do so. Yet it’s had every advantage the government could provide.

What this all implies is that without government intervention, PV solar can’t be a significant source of grid power. The economics of German solar have only made sense up til now because they tax the hell out of all types of energy (even other renewables), and then use the proceeds to subsidize solar panels. Utilities are forced to buy distributed solar power at rates several times the electricity’s market value, causing massive losses. The German Renewable Energy Act directly caused utility losses of EUR 540 million in August 2013 alone. [16] It’s a shocking amount of money changing hands. When you strip away the well-intentioned facade of environmentalism, this is little more than a forced cash transfer scheme. It’s taking from utilities (who are losing money hand over fist on grid management and pre-existing conventional generation capacity) and from everyone who doesn’t have rooftop panels, and shoveling it into the pockets of everyone who owns or installs panels. Which means it’s both a massive market distortion and a regressive tax on the poor.

This explains why per-capita solar uptake is so high in Germany. The government has engineered a well-intentioned but harmful redistribution system where everyone without solar panels is giving money to people who have them. This is a tax on anyone who doesn’t have a south-facing roof, or who can’t afford the up-front cost, or rents their residence, etc. People on fixed incomes (eg welfare recipients and the elderly) have been hardest hit because the government has made a negligible effort to increase payments to compensate for skyrocketing energy prices. The poor are literally living in the dark to try to keep their energy bills low. Energiewende is clearly bad for social equality. But Germany’s politicians seem to have a gentleman’s agreement to avoid criticizing it in public, particularly since Merkel did an about-face on nuclear power in 2011. [17]

Issue 2: Supply Variability

One major problem with all this solar-boosting, ironically, is oversupply. It’s mind-boggling to me that a generation technology that provides less than 5% of a country’s electricity supply can be responsible for harmful excess electricity production, but it’s true. On sunny summer afternoons, Germany actually exports power at a loss compared to generation costs: EUR 0.056/kWh average electricity export sale price in 2012, [18] vs EUR 0.165/kWh average lifetime cost for all German solar installed from 2000 to 2011. [14] (This is optimistically assuming a 40 year system life and 10% capacity factor — reality is probably over EUR 0.20/kWh.) German utilities often have to pay heavy industry and neighboring countries to burn unnecessary power. On sunny summer days, businesses are firing up empty kilns and furnaces, and are getting paid to throw energy away.

You can argue that this excess summer solar generation is free, but it’s not — not only is this peak summer output included in the lifetime cost math, but excess solar power actually forces conventional power plants to shut down, thereby lowering the capacity factor of coal & gas plants. Yes, this means large-scale solar adoption makes non-solar power more expensive per kWh, too! On net, excess solar generation is a significant drag on electricity economics. You’re paying for the same power generation equipment twice — once in peak conventional capacity for cloudy days, and again in peak solar capacity for sunny days — and then exporting the overage for a pittance.

Why would they bother exporting at a loss? Because the feed-in-tariff laws don’t allow utilities to shut off net-metered rooftop solar. Utilities are forced by law to pay residential consumers an above-market price for power that isn’t needed. Meanwhile, Germany’s fossil-burning neighbors benefit from artificially-low EU energy market prices. This discourages them from building cleaner power themselves. It’s just a wasteful, distorted energy policy.

Remember, electricity must be used in the same moment it’s generated. [29] The technology for grid-scale electricity storage does not yet exist, and nothing in the development pipeline is within two orders of magnitude of being cheap enough to scale up. Pumped-hydro storage is great on a small scale, but all the good sites are already in use in both Europe and the US. The only plan on the table for grid-scale storage is to use electric car batteries as buffers while they’re charging. But that still won’t provide anywhere near enough capacity to smooth solar’s rapidly-changing output. [19] And if people plug in their cars as soon as they get home from work and the sun goes down, the problem could get even worse. California’s regulators have recently acknowledged that the generation profile at sundown is the biggest hurdle to the growth of solar power. The classic illustration is the “duck chart” (shaped like a duck) that shows how solar forces conventional power plants to ramp up at an enormous rate when the sun stops shining in the evening:

[29]

People often complain about wind power being unreliable, but when you get enough wind turbines spread over a large enough area, the variability averages out. The wind is always blowing somewhere. This means distributed wind power is fairly reliable at the grid level. But all solar panels on a power grid produce power at the same time, meaning night-time under-supply and day-time over-supply. This happens every single day, forever. At least in warm countries, peak air conditioning load roughly coincides with peak solar output. But Germany doesn’t use much air conditioning. It’s just a grid management nightmare. The rate of “extreme incidents” in Germany’s power grid frequency/voltage has increased by three orders of magnitude sinceEnergiewende started. [20]

The severe output swings have even reached the point where Germany’s grid physically cannot operate without relying on neighboring countries to soak up the variability. The ramp-down of solar output in the evening happens faster than the rest of Germany’s generation capacity can ramp-up.(Massive power plants can’t change output very quickly.) Which either means blackouts as people get home from work, or using non-solar-powered neighbors as buffers. Here’s one day’s generation profile for German solar power, showing how net electricity imports/exports are forced to oscillate back and forth to smooth out the swings in production:

[21]

If Germany’s neighbors also had as many solar panels, they would all be trying to export and import at the same time, and the system would fall apart. The maximum capacity of the entire EU grid to utilize solar power is therefore much lower than the level reached by individual countries like Germany and Spain.

Solar boosters often say people need to shift their energy consumption habits to match generation, instead of making generation match consumption. That’s feasible, to an extent — perhaps 20% of power consumption can be time-shifted, mostly by rescheduling large consumers currently operating at night like aluminum electrosmelters. But modern civilization revolves around a particular work/sleep schedule, and you can’t honestly expect to change that. People aren’t going to give up cooking and TV in the evening, or wait three hours after the sun goes down to turn on the lights. And weekends have radically different consumption profiles from weekdays.

It all adds up. PV solar output doesn’t properly sync up with power demand. That severely limits the maximum percentage of our electricity needs it can provide. Germany hit that limit at about 4%. They are now finding out what happens when you try to push further.

Issue 3: Displacing the wrong kinds of power

You may have noticed in the daily generation chart above how wind power is throttled back when the sun comes out. Residential solar has legal right-of-way over utility-scale wind. A lot of the power generation that solar is displacing is actually other renewables. Most of the rest is displacing natural gas and nuclear power. Coal power is growing rapidly. [6,8]

Here’s what the weekly generation profile is predicted to look like in 2020:

[22]

Notice the saw-tooth shape of the big grey “conventional” (coal/gas) category. What all this solar is doing is eating into is daytime base load generation, which seems good for displacing fossil fuels, but in the long run it’s doing the opposite.

The majority of electricity worldwide comes from coal and nuclear base load plants. They are big, efficient, and cheap. But base load generation is extremely difficult and expensive to throttle up and down every day. To simplify the issue a bit, you cannot ramp nuclear plants as fast as solar swings up and down every day. It takes several days to shut down and restart a nuclear plant, and nuclear plants outside France are not designed to be throttled back, so nuclear cannot be paired with the daily oscillations of PV solar. Supply is unable to match demand. You end up with both gaps and overages.

Most people think Germany is decommissioning its nuclear fleet because of the Fukushima accident, but the Germans didn’t really have a choice. They are being forced to stop using nuclear power by all the variability in solar output. That’s a big, big problem — Germany gets four times more electricity from nuclear than solar, so the math doesn’t add up. The generation time-profile is wrong, and the total power output from solar is too low. They have to replace nuclear plants with something else.

The normal way to handle variable power demand is via natural gas “peaker” plants. But Germany has minimal domestic natural gas resources and load-following gas plants are very expensive to operate, so what they’re doing is building more coal plants, and re-opening old ones. [6,8,22] It’s expensive and inefficient, but you can run a coal plant all night and then throttle it back when the sun comes up. It has better load-following capabilities than nuclear (although worse than gas). The German Green Party has been fighting nuclear power since the 1970s, and has finally won. Nuclear is out, and coal is in.

If you’re a regular follower of my writing, you’ll know what a terrible idea this is. [23] Replacing nuclear power with coal power is unquestionably the most scientifically-illiterate, ass-backwards, and deadly mistake that any group of environmentalists has ever made. It’s unbelievable how much cleaner and safer nuclear power is than coal power. The Fukushima meltdown was pretty much a “worst case scenario” — one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded, the largest tsunami to ever hit Japan, seven reactor meltdowns and three hydrogen explosions — and not a single person has died from radiation poisoning. [24] The expected lifetime increase in cancer rates due to the released radiation is somewhere between zero and a number too small to measure. [25] Even spectacular nuclear disasters are barely harmful to the public. Studies are now showing that the stress from the evacuation has killed more people than would have been killed by radiation if everyone had just stayed in place. [26,27]

In comparison, coal power kills about a million people per year, fills the oceans with mercury and arsenic, releases more carbon dioxide than any other human activity, and is arguably one of the greatest environmental evils of the industrialized world. [23]

This is counter-intuitive, but second-order effects are enormously important.Expansion of photovoltaic solar power past 1-2% of total electricity demand means less nuclear, and more coal. The amount of damage this does completely overwhelms the environmental benefit from the solar panels themselves. You have to avoid building so much solar power that it destabilizes and eliminates other clean power sources. When you get to the “duck chart” stage, things start to get bad. Otherwise you’ll end up worse off than when you started, as Germany has found out to its dismay.

So that all sucks a lot. German solar power is hurting people and the planet. But there’s more.

Issue 4: The kicker

The category for “biomass” power you see in all these charts is actually firewood being burned in coal plants. 38% of Germany’s “renewable energy” comes from chopping down forests and importing wood from other countries. [28] Effing firewood, like we’re back in the Middle Ages or something. Due to overzealous renewables targets, and a quirk in the EU carbon pricing system that considers firewood carbon-neutral, Europe is chopping down forests at an alarming rate to burn them as “renewable biomass.” The environmental movement has spent most of the last 200 years of industrialization trying to fight deforestation, and that noble goal has been reversed in an instant by bogus carbon emission calculations.

In the very long run, over 100 years or so, firewood is close to carbon neutral because you can regrow the trees and they absorb CO2 as they grow. Unfortunately, using firewood for fuel destroys a living carbon sink and releases all its carbon to the atmosphere right now. When you consider that you’re destroying a carbon sink as well as releasing stored carbon, firewood is actually much worse than coal for many decades thereafter. [28] The next few decades is humanity’s most critical time for reducing carbon emissions, so this policy is mind-boggling lunacy.

Germany is so focused on meeting renewables targets that it is willing to trample the environment to get there. They’ve managed to make renewables unsustainable! It’s tragicomic.

To summarize: Energiewende is the worst possible example of how to implement an energy transition. The overzealous push for the wrong generation technology has hurt citizens, businesses, and the environment all at the same time.

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying we should abandon solar. It should definitely be part of our generation mix. Due a mix of bad climate and bad policy, Germany ran into problems at a very low solar penetration, and other countries will be able to reach higher penetrations. But even if we ignore cost, there is still a maximum practical limit to solar power based on the realities of grid management.

  • You can’t build more PV solar than the rest of the grid can ramp up/down to accept. The necessary grid storage for large-scale solar power is a “maybe someday” technology, not something viable today. Calls for 50% of power to come from solar in our lifetimes are a fantasy, and we need to be realistic about that.
  • You can’t force utilities to buy unneeded power just because it’s renewable. The energy and materials to build the excess capacity just goes to waste. That is the opposite of green.

We have to learn those lessons. We can’t sweep this failure under the rug.

Every time a renewables advocate holds Germany up as a shining beacon, they set back the credibility of the environmental movement. It’s unsupported by reality and I think even gives ammunition to the enemy. We have to stop praising Germany’s Energiesheiße and figure out better ways to implement renewables. Other models should work better. They have to — the future of the world depends on it.

[1] Solar power by country
[2] Germany’s Energy Poverty: How Electricity Became a Luxury Good – SPIEGEL ONLINE
[3] German ‘green revolution’ may cost 1 trillion euros – minister
[4] Global Warming Targets and Capital Costs of Germany’s ‘Energiewende’
[5] Germany’s ‘Energiewende’ – the story so far
[6] Germany: Coal Power Expanding, Green Energy Stagnating
[7] Merkel’s Blackout: German Energy Plan Plagued by Lack of Progress – SPIEGEL ONLINE
[8] Merkel’s Green Shift Backfires as German Pollution Jumps
[9] Capacity factor, Price per watt
[10] German Solar Installations Coming In at $2.24 per Watt Installed, US at $4.44
[11] It Keeps Getting Cheaper To Install Solar Panels In The U.S.
[12] Germany Breaks Monthly Solar Generation Record, ~6.5 Times More Than US Best
[13] Germany and Renewables Market Changes (source link in original article is broken, here is an updated link:http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp…)
[14] Cost of German Solar Is Four Times Finnish Nuclear  — Olkiluoto Nuclear Plant, Plagued by Budget Overruns, Still Beats Germany’s Energiewende
[15] 313 MWp German PV Capacity Added in July 2013 – 34.5 GWp Total
[16] EEG Account: 5,907 GWh of Renewable Energy in August Sold for EUR 37.75 at Expenses of EUR 399.52 per MWh – EUR 540 Million Deficit
[17] Germany will dilute – not abandon – its Energiewende plan
[18] German power exports more valuable than its imports
[19] Ryan Carlyle’s answer to How large would an array of solar panels have to be to power the continental US? How much would such an array cost to build? And what are the major engineering obstacles to powering the US this way?
[20] Electricity demand response shows promise in Germany
[21] Energiewende in Germany and Solar Energy
[22] Problems with Renewables and the Markets
[23] Ryan Carlyle’s answer to What are some policies that would improve millions of lives, but people still oppose?
[24] Stephen Frantz’s answer to What is a nuclear supporter’s response to the Fukushima disaster?
[25] Fukushima Cancer Fears Are Absurd
[26] Evacuation ‘Fukushima’ deadlier then radiation
[27] Was It Better to Stay at Fukushima or Flee?
[28] The fuel of the future
[29] Fowl Play: how the utility industry’s ability to outsmart a duck will define the power grid of the 21st century

Stop Commercial flights to the United States from West Africa

Sent via email Sunday, October 19, 2014

Senator Marco Rubio
U.S. Senate
317 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 205100001

Reference: Stop Commercial flights to the United States from West Africa

Dear Senator Rubio,

I read your comments on CNN Opinion on Wednesday and as much as I agree with you, temporarily denying visas is not enough.   I am imploring you to take action in Congress to stop commercial flights to the United States from West Africa. Seventy percent (70%) of the people who contract Ebola die! There’s really no “silver bullet”, antidote or vaccine. Congress needs to demand the Obama administration ban air travel to this country from West Africa.

We really don’t know if Ebola is transmitted only by direct contact. The University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy published an article arguing that the current Ebola has “unclear modes of transmission”

Transmission rates in West Africa have risen, not diminished which is proof we do not have this disease under control, increasing the chances we will have travelers from West Africa, arriving in the US desperate for a cure. By January alone. By CDC estimates, Liberia will have 11,000 to 27,000 cases of Ebola.   Why wouldn’t West Africans want to run from Ebola, or if infected come to the U.S. looking for a cure?

There are not enough “boots on the ground” to effectively fight Ebola in West Africa. Military or otherwise, we should offer volunteers significant hazardous pay duty to go to West Africa and put our best resources available there, like small transit care centers, construction of additional treatments centers supplies and training towards defeating Ebola.

Finally, what’s to stop jihadists from getting infected, flying to the U.S. before symptoms are apparent and exposing themselves to as many unsuspecting American citizens as possible? No security checkpoint is going to detect terrorist carrying Ebola, while dormant.

I greatly appreciate your time and prompt attention to this important matter. Thank you for serving Florida.

Sincerely,

Concerned husband, father and employer

To email Senator Marco Rubio: http://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact

 

Liberals Die When They Want To…

162Zeke says, “Time to go!”  I’ve now been educated that liberals die when they want to, or in fact, they need to, in order to make Obamacare less of a disaster.  Liberals mandate when it’s time to die.  Whereas conservatives die when they have to and not when its convenient.

I’m one of them.  A conservative.  I’m 62.  It may be convenient for liberals like you, Zeke Emanuel to die when you want to, but conservatives don’t have that luxury .  After all, somebody has to pick up the tab.  We don’t get to choose when to die.  There’s this thing called family.

I have a family.  A wife who’s retired and 2 grown children just getting started in their careers.  My wife needs a husband who can spend more time with her.

My two girls are just getting started in their families and in their careers.  Did anyone tell you Zeke, kids are getting married in their 30s and 40s, not in their 20’s?  Did anyone tell you, they’re having kids in their 30s and 40’s not in their 20’s?  Who are these kids going to call Grampa, if I cash in my chips, toes up at age 75?

My wife has been waiting over 40 years for me to retire.  She has worked in the school system and done the lion share to raise my children throughout their formative years.  We didn’t even start taking vacations until the girls were in high school.  What am I going say to my wife when I’ve finally paid off the mortgage, sold my business and our kids are popping out babies, snot-nosed kids that we can spoil at age 75?  “Sorry honey, Zeke says, time to go.”  Really?!

The Zekemobile

If I retire from my business at 68-70 years of age, I get to enjoy 5 yrs. in retirement?  My wife and I could spend time with our daughters, their children, and would have maybe 5-7 years to see the world or at least a little more than the backyard??!

That’s when I had an idea!  Like in Back to the FutureI could build a time machine like the DeLorean DMC-12 only in an 8 passenger family and friends van to escape from Zeke and Obamacare.

My Mom would have a heart attack if I told her I was going to die at 75 years of age.  She would only be 98!  It would be too much of a shock to her system.  How can I ask her to pass up an opportunity at age 100, to be mentioned by Willard Scott on the Today Show?!

I run a successful small business. I am employ over 35 people.  I take pride in helping them and their families.  They’re my extended family.  One of our very own extended families had a baby today, 8 lbs. 10 oz.  That baby will be 29 yrs. old Zeke, a young adult with a new family and hopefully a burgeoning career, when his own Dad is supposed to die.

I gave my Dad’s eulogy when I had turned 60.  I had 30 more years today to be with and learn from my Dad, Zeke, than you would ask of one of my own employee’s son’s to share with his Dad?!

131115160330-01-jonestown-massacre-horizontal-large-gallery

Jonestown Massacre 918 Died

Most of my friends are my age or older, so who would I hangout with?  I guess when that time comes in 10-15 years we could throw a Jimmy Jones Jonestown party and all drink the Kool-Aid Zeke Emanuel is selling?

Frankly Zeke, you’re a joke and you make me sick.  You’re an Obamacare zealot?  You’re just in it for the money.  You don’t care about anyone but yourself and your lord and savior, Obama, so I’m not going to rollover and die for you.

On the other hand, if liberals, like you, Zeke, want to die at 75 yrs. of age, that’s OK.  It just sounds like another liberal born entitlement to me.

One that I can live with…

Here is Obama’s GREENTECH FAIL list WHICH HAS LAID WASTE ON TAXPAYER DOLLARS!!!

President_Obama_Clapping_310_249

The Federal Government Just Announced the Biggest Clean Energy Boost Since the Stimulus

When Obama blames Republicans for infrastructure failure, think again!

Families will have less disposable income as they spend more to light and heat their homes, with seniors, families on fixed incomes and lower-income Americans being hit the hardest.

Read more: EPA rule puts U.S. economy, electric grid at risk – Politico

LATEST: How do you screw taxpayers and reward your cronies that got you elected?  By handing over billions.  Obama administration has a 5 point plan.  Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, an Obama appointee can tell you.  She stated, “This (the Desert Sunlight project) is the beginnings of a renewable energy future.”  Another future failure costing taxpayers billions.

Here’s the truth.  The Desert Sunlight, a CA state project involves 1) $1.5 billion of federal government subsidized loans.  It mandates purchases of overpriced power, to benefit three of the world’s largest corporations— GE, NextEra Energy and Sumitomo Corporation. 2) They rent Federal government land at bargain basement prices. 3) The Government provides loan guarantees and 4) offer Federal government tax credits of 30% to buy their solar panels. Still not enough for Desert Sunlight to succeed?  5) California requires utility companies 33 percent of their energy come from renewable sources

Here is Obama’s GREENTECH FAIL list WHICH HAS LAID WASTE ON TAXPAYER DOLLARS!!!

The list has grown so large I have decided to make this an ongoing project.

39. World’s largest solar plant applying for federal grant to pay off federal loan.  Owned by Google and NRG, shame on them for asking for a taxpayer handout.  “This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us – the taxpayer for their pet project,” said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. “It’s actually rather obscene.”

38. NEW –Bankrupt Fuel Cell Maker Lilliputian – MIT spinout and consumer fuel cell startup Lilliputian Systems recently declared bankruptcy after more than twelve years of development and hype, $150 million in VC investment and dozens of press releases attesting to the strength of its portable charging technology. Lilliputian had won several government R&D grants.

37. NEW – With the news of another tragic FAIL, Abengoa which received a $1.4 billion loan guarantee in 2010 to build one of the world’s largest parabolic trough solar plants near Phoenix, Ariz.  The following year it received another $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to build another solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert.  The following year it received another $1.2 billion in loan guarantees to build another solar plant in California’s Mojave Desert.

36. NEW – Smith Electric Vehicles – Despite $32 million in federal stimulus funds and status as one of Obama’s favorite “green” companies, the firm has halted production, having built just 439 of the promised 510 vehicles.  Bright Automotive (electric delivery vans)Carbon Motors (clean diesel-powered police cars)Aptera Motors(three-wheeled electric cars)Coda Automotive (inexpensive electric sedans), all bankrupt or near bankruptcy, applied for Government funds but didn’t win the lottery.  Tesla Motors, on the other hand has met with growing success.

35. Ecotality, an electric car charger maker, who won a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy four years ago filed for bankruptcy. Green Energy Co. Folds after Obama gives it $99.8 Mil.

34.  GreenTech Automotive is owned by Capital Wealth Holdings, an investment company incorporated in the tax haven, the British Virgin Islands.  GreenTech president and Chinese businessman, Charles Wang, owns the investment company.  Wang is an expert on the EB-5 visa program and has coached other U.S. companies on how to effectively make use of it.  Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe is involved in electric car company.  The U.S. Securities and Exchange commission currently is investigating GreenTech’s use of the federal EB-5 visa-investor program, which raises funds from foreign nationals in exchange for U.S. green cards.

33. A $50-million loan previously award to Vehicle Production Group LLC (VPG)through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program (ATVMP) has gone unpaid. VPG, a maker of compressed natural gas-powered wheelchair-accessible vans, shut its doors in May after running out of cash.

32. SoloPower, the startup pitched as the most innovative player in Oregon solar manufacturing, will suspend its Portland operations.  State officials, too, were working to get in touch with the company, which has received a $10 million loan and a $20 million tax credit.  It also is in line for a $197 million federal loan, meant to help fund later stages of growth.

31. Rentech Incorporated For most of its 33-year history, Rentech Inc. tried to make money on green fuel development. But like its plans to sell synthetic diesel to major airlines in 2009, those efforts never really left the ground.  Rentech received $23 million from the DOE for a Colorado refinery turn wood into fuel.

30. SunTech Power, a China owned solar company struggling from a downturn in photovoltaic solar panels, benefited from a combined $84 million in Energy Department tax credits.

29. SolarWorld, a German company received more than $100 million in state and local tax incentives – only to see companies like SolarWorld in Hillsboro and SoloPower in Portland struggle in the wake of fierce competition, especially from Chinese companies. Source: Oregon bet big on this emerging technology

28. VESTAS, A Danish wind turbine company whose subsidiaries received over $50 million in U.S. stimulus dollars. Vestas also reported a net loss of 62 million euros, or $83 million, for the second quarter, compared with a loss of 8 million euros in last year’s comparable period. Revenue declined to 1.2 billion euros, compared with 1.6 billion euros a year earlier.

27. COMPACT POWER Plant that received $150M in taxpayer money to make Volt batteries furloughs workers.

26. CH2M HILL, is embroiled in atime card fraud scheme that took place between 1999 and 2008 when CH2M was servicing a DOE contract worth $2.2 billion, and at the beginning of 2013, it was discovered that CH2M HILL Plateau Remediation Company (CHPRC) “provided inaccurate cost data to support a multi-billion-dollar federal nuclear waste cleanup contract, “reported the Washington Free Beacon. Despite their history of legal and workplace safety violations, in 2009 an additional $1.3 billion was awarded to a different CH2M subsidiary to go toward the Hanford cleanup.

25. Bankrupt Amonix.

24. Bankrupt Babcock & Brown.

23. Bankrupt A123 Systems.

22. Bankrupt EASTERN ENERGY

21.Near Bankrupt 5N Plus The State of Wisconsin handed over $500 thousand to a Canadian company to open a solar panel recycling plant near De Forest.

20. BANKRUPT Fisker Automotive–was awarded a $529 million loan under an Obama admin program designed to spur production of advanced tech.  Fisker drew about $193 million of the Energy Department loan to engineer its Karma luxury plug-in hybrid. AL GORE!  Now the Chinese benefit from our hard earned taxpayer dollars!!!

19. BRIGHTSOURCE — President John F. Kennedy’s nephew, Robert Kennedy, Jr., netted a $1.4 billion bailout for his company.

18. Bankrupt Solar Trust for America.

17. Bankrupt Energy Conversion Devices.

16. Bankrupt Raser Technologies.

15. Bankrupt First Solar – of course GE’s in the mix.

14. Bankrupt NEVADA N.G.P.

13. ENN Mojave Energy LLC – linked to Harry Reid,

12. Bankrupt Ener1—

11. Tonopah Solar – linked to Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Crescent Dunes

These 10 failed projects ALONE, cost $3.4 billion in taxpayer funds AND COUNTING!

10. Bankrupt SolarReserve,

9. Bankrupt Beacon Power,

8. Bankrupt Geo Thermal,

7. Bankrupt Sempra Energy

6. Bankrupt Evergreen Solar, Inc.

5. Bankrupt SpectraWatt

4. Bankrupt the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.

3. Bankrupt Abound Solar of Loveland, Co. $400 million from Obama

2. Bankrupt SunPower: Twice As Bad As Solyndra.

1. Bankrupt SOLYNDRA

NOTE:  I agree much needs to be done (more practical examples abound, like passive shading) regarding pollution and the reduction of CO2 emissions but this post  is about pure politics, corruption and an abusive waste of taxpayer money.  I am not a climate change denier so don’t report me to the good professor.  I still do believe the jury is out on the all the reasons climate change advocates attribute to climate change.  Rather than panic and spend billions MORE of taxpayer dollars on failed Greentech technology, I believe in a pragmatic, limited government approach, such as that espoused by Bjørn Lomborg, author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It, to lower CO2 emissions.  I believe existing and new technology such as driverless cars will do much more to reduce emissions than government backed wind and solar.  Let the private sector do it’s job, which is to innovate, create jobs and grow the economy.  Let government get out of the way.

Obamacare, Who’s Going to Pay for It?

BL obamacare enrollment attkissonAs of March 31, according to the Obama administration, 8 million people signed up for private insurance in the Health Insurance Marketplace, exceeding its target of 7 million. After all the lies and scandals coming from the White House who would believe that number?

In fact, the 8 million figure is overstated because it counted people who weren’t actually covered because they hadn’t paid their premiums, which Blue Cross, analysts and the government agree is in the 15 percent to 20 percent range.

The actual number of Obamacare enrollees as of March 31 was likely between 6.4 million and 6.8 million even while about 38 million uninsured are eligible for Obamacare

Estimates of how many marketplace enrollees were previously uninsured range from about one-third to more than half, depending on the survey and the methods used.

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 43 percent of those who purchased insurance through the marketplace already had insurance.  They were shifted into the exchanges because of changes caused by Obamacare.

So fewer than 4 million newly insured shouldn’t be considered a victory for the Obama administration.

The rel victory for the Obama administration?  According to CMS estimates Medicaid will get 8.6 million new enrollees in 2014, thanks to Obamacare. Twenty-six states have expanded Medicaid, but if all did, spending by states would increase 26 percent—or $952 billion—from 2013 to 2022.  Who is going to pay for it?! true cost of obamacare

On the one hand, the CBO concluded that lower-than-expected Marketplace premiums and other recent developments will cut $104 billion from our deficit over the next 10 years.”  What they neglect to mention is that the coverage expansions in the ACA are still estimated to increase federal spending by $1.383 trillion over this same period.

While 4 million uninsured and 8.6 million new Medicaid recipients now have healthcare, the cost to taxpayers to insure them is staggering for consumers, who will pay 4 to 16% more for insurance in 2015.  In addition taxpayers will foot the 1.4 trillion dollar cost for Obamacare over the next 10 years and undoubtedly the reinsured, the millions who got booted off their policies even though they liked the policies they had for ones that they like less—that often cost more.

 

Immigration Reform: Message from the National Federation Independent Business (NFIB)

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Senate agreed to start debate on S. 744, the immigration reform bill—also known as the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.

NFIB sent a letter to Senate leaders, members of the bipartisan group (known as the gang of eight) who drafted the bill and all Senate offices that emphasized concerns that some provisions in the bill would weigh down small businesses with mandates and regulations that favor Big Business and Big Labor. A brief summary of our key points from the letter is below.

Call your Senators now at 202-224-3121 and urge them to keep these small-business concerns in mind as the immigration reform bill is considered!

Small-Business Concerns with Senate Immigration Bill:

  • Creates “The Bureau” – a New, Independent Agency Lacking Oversight – The Bureau of Immigration and Labor Market Research (“The Bureau”) will be a new independent agency that is self-funded through fees collected from employers participating in the new W visa program.
  • New Department of Homeland Security Authority is Duplicative – DHS should not be given new authority to establish enhanced penalties for violations of wage, hour, and workplace health and safety. The Department of Labor currently holds this authority, so DHS enforcement would be unnecessary and duplicative.
  • Construction Industry Discriminated Against – The bill specifically caps W visas for the construction industry at 15,000 per year.
  • Penalties Excessively Punitive for Small Business – Some of the penalties associated with e-verify (which is a Web-based system that compares employee information from Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (I-9) against federal government databases in order to verify workers’ employment eligibility) could be especially egregious for small businesses.The civil penalty section of e-verify legislation does not take into account the size of small business. While these penalties may serve as a deterrent to large corporations, they could shutter the doors of a small business.
  • Safe Harbor Protections are Critical – The e-verify system will not be error-free. There should be a strong faith/safe harbor provision that protects businesses that are attempting to comply with the law.
  • Financing of Mandatory Training Not Defined – Under S.744, employers must undergo mandatory e-verify training, but the bill does not specify how this will be paid for. Small businesses do not have the resources to finance yet another undefined mandate by the federal government
  • Clarification Needed for Independent Contractors – The bill does not clarify that employers will not use e-verify for independent contractors. NFIB supports the inclusion of language to ensure that employers and contractors are not liable for hiring or the continuation of employment of an unauthorized alien by a subcontractor.

The bill is expected to be considered on the Senate floor for the next three weeks. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hopes to complete work on the bill by the July 4th recess.

Some amendments will be offered over the course of the next few weeks; some of these amendments could possibly pertain to and address our concerns. Our policy team will closely monitor the progress of these amendments and advocate strongly for those that address our concerns with the proposed legislation. We will keep you updated as this bill continues to progress through the Senate, and we urge you to contact your Senators as issues arise that could address the small-business concerns with this bill.

Stay tuned to NFIB.com/immigrationbill for updates and additional information.

Sincerely,

Lisa Goeas
NFIB Vice President, Political & Grassroots

Gallup Poll – Small Business Gains the Trust of Americans

Americans' Confidence Gallup Poll

Americans’ Confidence Gallup Poll

Virtually all American small businesses hire Americans.  They spends their money here.  They pay their taxes here. Their profits stay here, helping to grow our economy. They support local businesses.  Small business grows American jobs.

While big government, big business and big union continue to capture the headlines in the Mainstream Media (MSM) the latest Gallup Polls tell the real story – Americans’ Confidence in Congress Falls to Lowest on Record. Small Business continues to garner the trust of most Americans – 76%!

Americans don’t discriminate when it comes to entrepreneurship.  Entrepreneurship and American exceptionalism is an equal opportunity endeavour.

This message needs to resonate with more politicians, whose confidence with the American people is at a new low – only 10% according to the Gallup poll!!  Yet who do politicians pander to, Big Business 22%, and Big Union 20%, right there with them.

While Big Government is busy making deals with major corporations like Amazon and Time Warner here in Florida, small businesses are left to compete for business at lesser margins.  They compete for qualified employees at higher salaries.  Why?  Big government subsidized competition for big business through tax incentives, tax breaks, and now even Obamacare, delaying the corporate mandate.

What politicians need to do, is pay attention more attention to small businesses. Recently I tested my own theory that small business grows jobs at a much greater rate than big business. I arrived at some interesting conclusions.

Using a calculator from PoliticalCalculations.com How Many People Are Employed by Small Businesses? I did the math and here is what I found.

A large portion, over 50% of the 55M employees recorded by the SBA in 2008 employed by small businesses, are concentrated in the 1-50 employee businesses. One could then draw the conclusion, the more start-ups the better. Feeding start-ups to grow quickly into the categories of 5 – 25 employees is a path to greater job growth, than big business.

Business size – Category No. Employees Percent of Total Employees under 500 Increase in Employment by Business Size
1-4 3,724,975 7%
5-10 6,338,025 11% 63%
11-25 11,124,498 20% 53%
26-50 8,761,696 16% 29%
51-100 8,397,904 15% 22%
101-250 10,299,022 18% 21%
251-500 7,186,709 13% 13%
Total 55,832,829

There needs to be more start-ups, a.k.a., small businesses.  To encourage the increase in numbers of employees in the 5 – 25 employee categories would mean enabling small businesses to create more jobs, at a faster pace.

To demonstrate this further, another US Government Small Business Administration (SBA) study shows companies between 20 and 100 employees produce the most significant rate of growth both in employment and revenues.

Legal Form U.S., All Industries Employment Size of Firm
of Organization Total 0 * 1-4 5-9 10-19 20-99 100-499
Firms 3,781,343 13% 43% 19% 13% 11% 2%
Employment 45,087,926 0% 8% 10% 14% 37% 30%
Est. receipts 7,168,325,343 2% 9% 10% 13% 35% 31%

More of the incentives afforded to the large corporations should shift to smaller businesses to increase the numbers of smaller businesses who succeed.  Check out: America Runs On Small Businesses Infograph.

Consider as larger corporations continue to downsize, largely due to technology replacing people, where is job growth going to come from? The answer, entrepreneurs and innovation. There’s more to this story. Let me know what you think?

If politicians want to win elections, they need to run on a small business for jobs platform.  They need to ask, “What can be done to increase the success of start-ups, reduce their failure rate, sustain their growth and the rate of employment to the extent they can grow and produce significant gains in employment and revenues?”

A combination of small business development, combined with technology and innovation will grow this economy faster than dishing out boondoggles to big business.

Reflections of a Physician Patient Facing Government-run Medicine and Cancer at a Crossroad by Kris Held, MD

Kris Held

Kris Held, MD

by Kris Held (Notes) on Sunday, May 5, 2013 at 3:39pm

I am a physician and surgeon home today recovering from my third operation for breast cancer. I am blessed to live in the United States where we enjoy the earliest detection and highest survival rate for breast cancer in the world…at least for now. Tragically, government has taken over the practice of medicine in the U.S. via the unwanted and corruptly passed, without-having-been-read, paradoxically named Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The US Preventive Task Force born of the ACA has already trumped our established guidelines for breast cancer screening to save money over lives – not a single breast cancer specialist was on the committee. Committee members picked and chose which studies they would include and which they would disregard – in the same fashion that this self-serving political ruling class picks winners and losers and now picks who lives and who dies. I am thankful for my physicians, surgeons, and their teams who carried me through this ordeal to a cure and good physical result. I was able to select my doctors, my treatment, and I only missed two weeks of work last year and 2 days this year. You see, as a physician and small business owner, my patients and my employees need me to be at work.

There is no room in the business model for the doctor to be out. My overhead is tremendous, and when I am out the lost income is nothing compared to the uncovered operating expenses. I love my patients, my employees and the privilege of practicing medicine, but sadly I fear that at some point it is just too risky, if not stupid, to continue in this oppressive, punitive, stifling environment.

Government first got its claws on medicine when it froze wages on workers allowing employers to instead offer health insurance as a benefit to attract employees. Health insurance as an employee benefit has evolved into a government mandate, now called a tax. Then in 1965, the federal government’s grip on medicine was tightened to a chokehold with implementation of Medicare and Medicaid, massive entitlement programs that have bloated to beyond what experts fathomed to the point that they are fiscally unsustainable and will soon throw our economy into fiscal ruin.

Rather than reforming these broken, bankrupting components of healthcare, the federal government has expanded them and seeks to place everyone on them. There is no understanding the irrationality of the process other than to accept that this is nothing about the health of the American patient but is all about keeping power and money in the hands of the political ruling class, whose intent is to fundamentally change our country to accepting the socialized medicine of a dictatorial state in complete disregard for the Constitution.

As an eye surgeon, most of my patients are seniors on Medicare. Cataract surgery is a minor miracle for patients who are able to continue enjoying the highest quality of life with restored vision. Having performed nearly 10,000 cataract operations over the past twenty-some years, I have become a highly skilled surgeon able to achieve successful outcomes in even the most difficult cases. With technological advances and an experienced surgeon, the operation can be performed quickly. Trust me, there are surgeons who take much longer and achieve poorer outcomes. Government, because it has no concept of how to practice medicine, judges quality of care based on time taken and pays physicians based on a convoluted communist based system of relative value units. So, ironically, as the surgeon and technology gets better, our pay gets lowered.

Medicare now pays $629.91 for cataract surgery including 3 months post op care, and United Healthcare pays $526.08. Most believe the goal of this administration is to ultimately have a single-payer system (socialized medicine) to be administered by United Healthcare, the largest provider in the US and worldwide. Because of its world market, it will be able to undercut all other carriers long enough to remain the sole survivor.

While physician fees have plummeted (because we are motivated to care for our patients first as opposed to fighting for pay), payments to hospitals and pharma have skyrocketed. There is a convoluted billing game that goes on between government, hospitals (represented by the-American Hospital Association lobbyists), big insurance, and big pharma. These interest groups all colluded behind closed doors with big federal government to cut deals in the ACA. Physicians were excluded, demonized, denigrated, and lied about-especially by President Obama who famously said doctors are immediately paid “30,40, or $50,000 to cut off a foot”, when in reality a below knee amputation fee to physician is around $700 including 3 months post op care. He further accused surgeons of taking out tonsils for cash instead of prescribing antibiotics, which is not only a lie, but in reality the surgeon’s fee is around $200 while the cost of antibiotics may exceed that.

The final blow was when Obama declared “we will let doctors know, and your mom know, that you know what, maybe it’s better to take the painkiller instead of having the surgery.” Government is now arrogantly practicing medicine without a license, and sadly this government puts the collective good ahead of the individual patient and family.

While I am now paid $500 for performing intricate, vision saving but potentially blinding eye surgery, the government will further reduce my pay if my patients don’t achieve a perfect outcome. So, if I operate on patients with coexistent disease, like macular degeneration, who will be greatly benefited but will not achieve 20/20, I will be penalized. Surgeons will stop operating on complex patients. My fee will be reduced further if I do not implement meaningful use electronic medical record reporting, quality reporting and data collecting, and I will not be paid at all if I do not adopt the absurd ICD10 codes by October 2014.

Further, any HIPAA violation subjects me to a $1.5 million dollar fine, and a dictation error can land me in jail, as exemplified by Dr. Natale this past year. Government is doing random unauthorized audits on physicians looking for fraud; the physician is presumed guilty until proven innocent, and bounty hunters are offered a percent of what they can dig up. The government is seeking to link the license to practice medicine with forced-taking of government insurance and forcing doctors to spend thousands of dollars and hours on “Maintenance of Certification” and “Maintenance of Licensure” scams that ultimately line the pockets of our specialty societies, which like the AMA have become nothing more than partners in crime with the feds.

All this, while patient expectation and sense of entitlement escalate…patients are unhappy, if not angry, if they have to come out of pocket a dime and if they don’t get 20/20 vision without glasses. Doctors are then subject to lawsuit. No tort reform was enacted in the ACA, because the trial lawyers’ desires exceeded the doctors’ need for protection. So, is the risk of jail, lawsuit, audit, $1.5 million dollar HIPAA fine, patient and government harassment, oppression, and demonization and MOC and MOL demands worth the $500, when I can’t even cover my expenses? Is your eyeball worth more than your iPhone? At some point it becomes too risky and flat-out stupid to continue to operate in this environment.

When the doctor in me wants to throw in the towel, the patient in me says “stay in the ring”. I would not be here if my surgeons had quit. What we must do as physicians is refuse to play this game any longer. We must stand against government for the sake of our patients, profession, and future of our country. When Government says grab your ankles, physicians must say NO! Government can’t do this without us. Are we complicit, compliant pawns doing government bidding, or are we men and women of the mind serving the sick, honoring the tradition and advancing the field? The only way not to lose is not to play.

Physicians must refuse to participate in this destructive, abusive, wasteful system. We must practice our trade outside the stranglehold of government. We have actual workable plans founded on the sacred doctor–patient relationship that will drastically cut costs and vastly improve quality of care.

Will we stand? Will our patients stand with us?

REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007…? THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!”

The disastrous results to the economy, lost  jobs and the $16 Billion deficit as we near the end of the Obama Administration’s first term are the fault of the Democrats takeover of both Houses of Congress in 2007 and President Obama, NOT President George W. Bush!

What follows is a compilation of “talking points” from various sources cited below.  Republicans need to fight back against Obama’s lame excuse, “It’s Bush’s fault.”

The Democrats took the majority in both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate at the very beginning of Bush’s second term, January 3rd 2007, 2 years before Obama took office.

The Democrats controlled the budget process for 2008 & 2009, as well as 2010 & 2011.

There’s a great article from the American Thinker called “It’s Not Bush’s Fault” by Ben Voth.  I have paraphrased a bit but these points were pulled from this lengthy article almost verbatim.

A couple of the talking points are from other sources, including from the book, Throw Them All Out by Peter Schweizer.  If you just read Chapter 5 of Schweizer’s book and it will turn your stomach.   You will “throw them all out” including our illustrious president.

liberals take over the house

Talking points…

In the fall of 2006, the media and associated public culture celebrated the landslide win of Democrats in congressional elections that brought strong majorities in both the House and the Senate.

The U.S. Congress holds the exclusive constitutional power over spending.

Congress is charged with oversight roles regarding government economic activities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.

As key leaders Chris Dodd in the Senate and Barney Frank in the House received huge campaign support from these GSEs that held the majority of American mortgage finances.

Senator Obama was himself a tremendous recipient of campaign funding from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that controlled trillions of dollars in American mortgage equity. The government was not supervising its own interference in the free market.

The housing market in the U.S. devolved into a dangerous leveraged global gambling operation that financed a vulnerable house of cards over European banks.

The leadership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac knew that the election of Democrats in the House and Senate would prevent any further calls by the Bush administration to tighten the regulations on these dangerous GSEs.

Just five years ago, here is a snapshot of the American economic scene when Democrats took control in January of 2007:

U.S. 2007 unemployment rate: 4.7 percent

U.S. 2007 deficit: 160 billion dollars

The unemployment rate was half the over ten-percent levels it would rise to under President Obama.

The long spell of high unemployment under President Obama and the slight fall in unemployment under President Obama is attributable to individuals giving up on seeking employment.

The tax cuts of the Bush administration had in fact produced record tax revenues — more than $2.5 trillion annually. Today, the government barely takes in $2 trillion.

The 160-billion-dollar deficit for 2007 was part of a larger downward trend from the past two years.

In 2009, while Barack Obama was a U.S, Senator, Nancy Pelosi & Harry Reid passed continuing resolutions to keep government running until Barack Obama took office.  At that time, they passed a massive omnibus spending bill to complete the 2009 budgets. Barack Obama later signed the omnibus bill as President.

Today, annual deficits are ten times larger — surpassing the one-trillion-dollar mark with regularity.

Five years ago, the U.S. annual deficit was 90% lower than it is today.

The markets did not express a sense of relief upon the election of President Obama in early November 2008. What ensued was an economic panic.

Business leaders feared the coming onslaught of regulatory and redistributive fervor of President-Elect Obama and his supporters.

President Obama did not enact the bailout of GM and Chrysler. President Bush did. , As reported by Forbes, GM said this below about the bailout from President Bush in December of 2008:

GM Statement On U.S. Auto Industry ‘Bridge Loan

“We appreciate the President extending a financial bridge at this most critical time for the U.S. auto industry and our nation’s economy. This action helps to preserve many jobs, and supports the continued operation of GM and the many suppliers, dealers and small businesses across the country that depend on us…We know we have much work in front of us to accomplish our plan. It is our intention to continue to be transparent as we execute our plan, and we will provide regular updates on our progress.”

The Bush bailouts for both the financial industry and the auto industry required the funds to be paid back. In fact, in both bailouts, these funds have been paid back to the Treasury.

The success of bailouts — both for the recipients and more importantly for taxpayers reflects the fiscal conservatism and successes of the Bush administration. These were temporary emergency funding actions that were paid back by the recipients with interest.

The Obama budget office has switched the payback funds into general operating expenses of the nation that support his general revisions to stimulus that do not require recipients to repay — such as the funds for Solyndra.

As Ben Voth said in his article, It’s Not Bush’s Fault, “This is like a college student receiving an emergency bailout from parents after he wrecks his car and then insisting that a permanent increase in a weekly allowance now includes provision for a new wreck every week!”

Speaking of Solyndra, as part of the $700 Billion Stimulus, consider the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded over $16.4 Billion in loan guarantees to friends of, a.k.a., donors for Obama.

Solyndra will be considered chump change considering the likely demise of First Solar backed by $4.7 billion in DOE loan guarantees, as best described in The First Solar Swindle.  Scroll half way down the article to read “Favoritism” and beyond to recognize why the Stimulus was doomed for failure.

It’s as Peter Schweizer said in his book, Throw Them All Out, Obama is all about “friends giving friends billions of our taxpayer money.”

Pants on Fire! Where’s Politifact When You Need Them?

The Real One Percenters – Small Business People

The Tampa Bay Times Thursday July 26th, 2012 issue, posted this front page headlines…

“Tampa businesses criticize Obama at Romney event, but live off government work.”

The Tampa Bay Times (TBT) reveals their own extreme prejudice by stating, “Despite that dependence on government largesse, the companies’ owners (in an article “Tampa businesses criticize Obama at Romney event, but live off government work.” written by Michael Van Sickler, Times Staff Writer) dismissed the role of government in their businesses.”

Small businesses who provide products or services to government under contract do not “live off government work.”  They benefit as any business would, by creating, producing, hiring when necessary, building and delivering products or services to a government entity.  The Obama administration would like their supporters to believe small businesses don’t pay taxes as individuals.  Many of them do.

In fact, the government “lives off the work” of small businesses who are taxpayers, like anyone else.

The TBT has determined Lou Ramos of Value Enterprise Solutions and Rebecca Smith, owner of A.D. Morgan are somehow indebted to the government.  If they didn’t work and earn the income they received from the government, it’s up to the government to fire them.  Businesses who can navigate the rules and regulations to be certified as a government contractor should be applauded. If a government contractor does something illegal it’s not up to the TBT to indict them.   Frankly, these headlines are shameful.  If you agree government contractors live off government work then you agree that all government contractors do the same.  The long list includes GE, Boeing and includes all government workers, too.

The article states, “The Mitt Romney campaign offered up an inspirational tale of two local companies Wednesday as a way to cast President Barack Obama as an out-of-touch, big government apologist who doesn’t understand how business works.”

This is an editorial comment that is purely a supposition on the part of the TBT and hardly constitutes front page news.  I would agree the TBT columnist and the TBT fear their statement is a fair assessment of how small business owners think of the President and his policies.

The TBT goes on to defend Obama, “During his speech, Obama spoke about how even the most successful business owners didn’t make it alone, that they were helped by others, including in some cases those in government.”

“But the Romney campaign is stressing one part of that speech, including a line where Obama stated, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Taken alone, that might mean Obama is refusing to award credit to business owners. When the entire section of the speech is included, it’s obvious what Obama’s point is.”  TBT quotes the president in the context he is interested in a cohesive relationship with small business, “When we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together,” Obama said at the same Virginia event.”  In fact, the government works for the taxpayers, a.k.a., income earners.  Your job Mr. President is to serve and protect the public.

Obama’s comments convey the message that small businesses need government to succeed.  The real story is, government needs small businesses to succeed.  Obama supporters, including TBT, would have you believe small businesses that do business with the government are not taxpayers and live off government work.  In fact, small businesses are not employees of government.  They don’t enjoy a weekly paycheck, insurance, pension or other government guaranteed benefits.  How are they “living off the government work?”

Small business tax dollars are spent like any other taxpayer’s dollars on government programs, including infrastructure, roads and bridges.  When a small business person fills up at the pump, on average, we pay almost 50 cents per gallon to the government for taxes on gasoline, approximately 12.5 cents on every dollar (GasPricewatch.com).   Add toll roads to the equation and in many parts of the country the cost to taxpayers for infrastructure goes up.

Like most small businesses, I work for myself, my family, my 35 employees and the community.  I pay taxes as an individual, not as a corporation, so I have a vested interest in deciding how to spend or reinvest in my business. Reinvesting the income I earn is why I have successfully run a small business for 24 years. Unlike our president, I applaud anyone who is or was gainfully employed, whether by the government, as a government contractor or in the private sector.

In the end voters will decide, not based on campaign rhetoric, which flows freely from both campaigns, but based on the real message. President Obama’s statement, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” has an underlying message that plain and simple. The presidents message is, “If you need government to successful.”  Romney’s message is, “If you need free enterprise to be successful and for our country and our government to survive.”

The TBT should apologize to Lou Ramos of Value Enterprise Solutions and Rebecca Smith, owner of A.D. Morgan, as well as all small businesses, all government contractors, all government employees and all hard working Americans who are in their words, “living off government work.”

EntrepreNever

If it takes you 27 years of sweat equity running a ‪small business to make it into the 1% don’t you think there should be a waiver from the Obama administration on his tax on everyone who makes $250,000 or more?

There are waivers for Big Union and Big Business for Obamacare.

  small business  owner is a community organizer too, only he’s not spending other people’s money.

After all, a small business reports income taxes on what the business makes and then must determine how much of that income has to go back into the business for the business to survive and grow.

Why should Obama decide how many employees I should hire?  Why should he decide how much we decide to invest in new and existing products and services to survive or grow?

 

 

 

 

 

“If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Friedrich Nietzsche

I made a point to take my two young daughters to NYC shortly after 9-11 even though they missed the ascent to the top of the Statue of Liberty for security reasons, they were able to ascend to the top of the Empire State Building. 

“Today the World Trade Center is again the tallest building in New York one year after the killing of Osama bin Laden and more than 10 years after the attacks that brought them down.  It is still a work in progress: The hulking steel structure known as the Freedom Tower is still 500 feet shorter than it will be when complete.  But it is already a tribute to American resilience, a reminder that whatever devastation we face, we can still come back bigger and better than before.”  Aaron Vaughan

Tallahassee Fire Dept Extrication Team. Liberty Street across from Ground Zero

I can understand where the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is coming from.  I was young once upon a time.  I took sociology in college and a course called American Ghetto Environment, if you can imagine how “not PC” that course name would be today.  I wanted to help people who had a hard time helping themselves.  A Nelson DeMille character in the General’s Daughter reflected, while “Life’s Grown Soft, I’ve Grown Hard,” reflecting on growing up in a post WWII era.  Life was hard.  Today life is soft by comparison.  There are plenty of folks out there that deserve help.  I say “help” because I detest the word “entitled.”  To me the word entitlement defines a benefit given someone in need, not in want.  Our so called entitlement programs, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, other mandatory spending programs were programs designed for hard working people who need and whenever possible contributed to their own welfare. 

A lifetime of work experience allows me to say there are people who believe everyone regardless of work ethic and moral fiber are entitled to the American Dream and those who believe the American Dream is earned through a good work ethic and morals.  I am from a middle class family.  I was the second child of six.  I was always wanting but never needing.  If I wanted something I would find a way to get it.  Ok, I could pout with the best of ‘em for a nickel package of bubble gum and baseball cards.  Mostly I learned to earn what I wanted.  Since the age of 11-12, I always had an after school job, be it paper route, bagger or stock boy at a local grocer.  In high school I washed pots and pans in the cafeteria on my lunch hour.  Later, I was promoted to making and serving milk shakes and sandwiches to my fellow students.   If you have ever worked in a school cafeteria at age 16, worn a hair net, while serving sandwiches to your fellow students, in particular, the girl you had a huge crush on, you would understand the price you pay to earn a few extra dollars.

During college, I worked for a janitorial service from 4 – 7 AM daily at a local hotel to help supplement my $15 per week expense allowance.  Summers I worked on a crew with 3 occupational day laborers, landscaping and mowing lawns.  My boss was a machine operator and had a landscaping business on the side. 

He made me, the 18 year old college kid the crew chief.   I made less than my crew, but I wanted a job.  My crew was ages 18, 30-something and 40-something.  18 had a wife and a new baby.  He showed up for work every day.  If he didn’t want to work, he’d sit in the shade and smoke.  He outweighed me times-two and that was just his arms.  If I pressed him to pick up his shovel, he wanted to arm wrestle or place a lit cigarette between our forceps to see who would pull away first.

30 and 40-something worked 4 days a week.  My boss paid them on Friday.  They got drunk on weekends, nursed a hangover on Monday’s,  then dragged their sorry asses back to work on Tuesday. 

The summer break next year, I went to work for the local school district doing the same thing.  At the school district, I worked with 3  guys also.  One was a friend and fellow college student.  We worked our butts off.  The other two guys complained and cajoled us to slow down and slack off.  The experience wasn’t much different than the summer before.   To me acting busy was harder than being busy, but in the end there are no great gigs in the lawn care and landscaping business.  Did I mention the mosquitos were nasty?

Life is so much softer now, but we all have a responsibility to pull our own weight.  We have a/c, cell phones, flat screen TVs and cold beer on every street corner.  So what’s the big deal?  Go to work.  Get a job.  If you can’t get the job of your dreams you can still go out and earn a living.  If you want something more, go out and earn it.  I know some retired guys who worked hard all their lives.  Now that they are no longer working, they are willing to live (want) with less.  It’s habit forming, but we can’t all be retired.  So if you need something, go to work.  Work can be habit forming, too.  My experience wearing a hairnet left me wanting more. 

Coming into this election, there’s an underlying current of ill will.  Call it hate, dividing Americans. I have never before experienced such divisiveness before between conservatives and liberals, in my youthful 60 years of age.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous quote, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”  

This quote should serve as a warning to all of us, especially this President, Congress and influential leaders.  We are at risk of a great divorce, with all the ingredients including hate, resentment and financial ruin.  Worst is how it will affect the children, many who call themselves Occupy Wall Street (OWS) the citizens of this great nation.  It’s always the children who get hurt the most.

Note from author on 11-27-2012:  Now that the election is over I feel more strongly than ever this message should resonate with anyone who is concerned about the future of this country.

Have You Hugged Your Building Custodian Today?

You cannot lead from behind!

Leadership begins with mutual respect.  The leaders I respect the most lead by example.  Politicians, pundits and the media can go around trying to divide people into haves and have-nots, but there’s really no divide between most of us. 

Small business owners don’t have a problem hugging their building custodian.  How about the lawn care person, the handy person, the painter, the delivery person; most of all the bug person, who you may feel at risk… to hug?  Hug, hug, hug them, anyway.   Many of the aforementioned live enriched, fulfilling lives with or without millions; and need not be classified otherwise.  Many of these folks are small business owners, too!  Like me.

I’m sure there’s a more PC way to describe some of your favorite “small business owners,” but here’s mine.  They probably fall off ladders.  They are probably mechanically deficient and they’re probably a danger to themselves and others, with a hammer.  OK, that’s just me… but most small business owners have a great deal of respect for those who wield a mop or a nail gun.

You’ll find small business owners in and amongst your family, and amongst your friends.  People you know and respect.  I’ve also come to learn, most small business owners, including me, are generally opposed to big government.  To them, big government prescribes life to be easy, convenient, comfortable and mindless.  To me government is the voice saying, “Eat your vegetables, go to school, do your homework, go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, play golf, get cancer and die.”  I already have parents, thank you.  Small business owners know, even if you were to try to live such a mundane existence, government can’t save you.  They know there’s no such thing as a mundane existence.  There’s always going to be something that requires you to be extraordinary

Government isn’t extraordinary and it doesn’t make money, you do.  Government spends your money.  Frankly government spends money you don’t have and you are personally on the hook to pay back that debt.  You and your family, as citizens of the United States of America, now stand to own a piece of over $5 trillion dollars in debt in just the past 3-4 years alone.  This is the new normal.  Are you willing to double down on that much debt?

News flash!  For many small business owners like me, life isn’t easy.  Like most Americans who are willing, I have to earn every dime.  Still no one can speak for those of you who were dealt from a rigged deck, who live a life of marked cards.  Your life may include poverty, possibly abuse, neglect or worse.  To escape this life you may need or have needed to be extraordinary. To escape you may need or have needed extraordinary luck.  To escape you may need or have needed extraordinary help from other people, places including the institution of government and beyond.  You may need private investment, support from charities and organizations supported by those who have been more fortunate.  In this fashion, there are plenty of small business people, again like me, who support those in need.  What small business owners don’t need is more big government, big union and big business getting in the way.

Without free market capitalism, small businesses can’t thrive or even survive.  Many people disagree.  They think more government is the answer.  Where will the jobs come from?  Government?  Where will the tax revenues come from?  Rich people?  Hardly!   All the institutions that are getting a pass include big government, big union and big business.  So where do you turn?  Most small business people know how hard it is to make money and to pay off debt.  That’s what most small business people do.  That’s leadership.

So why are politicians, pundits and the media so hell-bent on dividing this country into haves and have-nots?  I say, it’s time to go dish out some hugs!  Start with the folks that keep me off ladders and off my roof.  Start with people who take away my hedge trimmer and my chain saw, too.  That’s just a scary movie to me.  You can start with a hug for me.  If I am still in one piece, I’ll hug back.

Recently I ran across this open letter to Romney called The First Four Years Are The Hardest… that echoes much of the sentiment conveyed here… a great read…sorry you had to come this far to get to this

Who Counts? Not Small Business…

How is our government counting jobs? 

According to Political Calculations, since 2009 under the Obama administration, through December 2011, we are losing private sector jobs in industries we consider the heart of America. 

In Transportation and Warehousing from 2009 through 2011 we have lost 769,000 (46%) jobs; in Manufacturing, 329,000 jobs (20%); and in all other civilian jobs the loss is 565,000 (34%). 

You can only draw one conclusion, if we are seeing an uptick in jobs, it is government created jobs using taxpayer dollars.  Your money.  In other words, its all about politics and getting re-elected.

Government getting in the way, is happening at all levels of government.  Isn’t it our loss if a small business loses an employee and Time Warner’s gain if they can count one or is there’s more to the story?  

An article in the Tampa Bay Times March 12, 2012, When it comes to recruiting businesses with taxpayer funds, Florida should be pickier, Robert Trigaux, Times Business Columnist states Time Warner received $3,000,000 to bring 500 jobs to Hillsborough County.  Not exactly.

Unfortunately, for one small business and the rest of the State’s taxpayers, Time Warner and the State’s jobs program is tapping into existing state jobs, not new out-of-state jobs.  Time Warner’s recruiters are calling in-state employees repeatedly recruiting them to leave their in-state employer, in this case, a small business in Pinellas County, to take a similar job for more money in Hillsborough County on the taxpayers dime. 

A high value software developer recently left his job at an in-state small business in Pinellas County, to work for Time Warner in Hillsborough County.  A small business in Pinellas recruited him 8 months ago from Buffalo, NY.  The cost to recruit and employ him, easily exceeded $10K, considering moving expenses and training costs.  This small business did not receive any state, county or local funds.  Time Warner should not receive credit for a new hire who is an existing worker from the State of Florida.  As a small business they employ 37 FTEs with average annual wages well exceeding $60K.  

The small business in Pinellas grew from approximately 25 to 33 plus FTEs in 2011 alone.   That’s a 32% increase in employment in one year.  Where else do you get that kind of return on employment?  Not with big businesses like Time Warner.  The small business in Pinellas expect to hire 5 – 10 additional FTEs in 2012.  They have a great benefits package and a casual work environment.  Still, it is hard to compete with large corporations, in particular, if the corporation is receiving millions of dollars in State money, to hire in-state employees.

Finally, there’s even the question of county government giving big business an unfair advantage over a small business right in their own backyard.  This story appeared in The Tampa Bay Times recently concerning Hillsborough’s Bass Pro Shops receiving $15 million in State and County funds to open shop next door to a local small business, Boaters World, offering many of the same products and services. 

Where’s the business logic in that and why does a government bureaucrat get to make decisions affecting private enterprise?  Outrageous!

Depression – This stretch of road is all behind me… la deuxième partie

I wrote “This Stretch of Road Is All Behind Me” because I often find people in places where they never want to be.  I believe there is a stretch of road less traveled for those of you who live with misery, including depression.  There are answers.

That road can be behind you.  Depression is a horrible affliction, mostly misunderstood and largely ignored. 

We need to do more not to ignore. 

If you want to experience, first hand, what it is like living with depression, follow this link –>  This stretch of road is all behind you now…

This stretch of road is all behind me.

No more rolling down that road called misery.
I’m no saint. No savior wannabe.
I’m not here to take a fall.
I’m just here passing through, that’s all.
Cause that road I was headed down,
Placed a hurt on me… a hurt on me.
People bent, people broken.
People’s names left unspoken.
I’m not headed down that road.
No. No. No more.
So I’m taken a turn for right or wrong.
This stretch in the road is all behind me.
My mind, my bed is already made.
There’s no more yesterday’s in my sites.
No more yesterday’s hanging over me. Over me.
All I see is ahead of me. Ahead of me…
People bent, people broken.
People’s names left unspoken.
I’m not headed down that road.
No. No. No more.
There’s no going back!
So don’t go there.
Alan J Wiessner
10-31-2011

Alien Nation a.k.a., The Obamacare Nation

Alien, the movie was all about spreading spores and breeding aliens to prey on mankind, should the spores reach our planet.  Obamacare and its spores are already here.  Come 2014 the invasion will begin in earnest.

In Alien, Sigourney Weaver is the much larger than life heroine who thwarts the Alien invasion, at least until Aliens…  Who can stop Obamacare?  Maybe Pam Bondi, our larger than life Attorneys General for the State of Florida and the case she and attorneys generals in 26 other states have filed against Obamacare with the U.S. Supreme Court?

I’m just a small business owner.  My concerns as a small business person and employer need to be amplified on a scale much bigger than fiction.  We’ve already been invaded.  The spores of Obamacare have already been planted. Officially, Obamacare is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The Senate passed it on December 24, 2009.

Beginning in 2014, when Obamacare explodes on to the scene, small business as we know it will cease to exist.  In its place will be big government running a significant portion of small business, literally.

The heroine (or hero) in the real life movie Obamacare is the entrepreneur, the small business owner.  The enemy is SHOP, the Small Business Health Options Plan.  Big government is betting small business owners don’t have the time or the energy to sit through the movie, but as right-brained as many entrepreneurs can be, myself included, navigating SHOP is a must see.

The entrepreneurial spirit will be crushed by the most egregious of government actions since the payroll tax increase in April, 1983 which was cause and effect, the catalyst for U.S. manufacturers investing in jobs overseas.  There will be nothing to prevent another government subsidy, Obamacare, to balloon out of control, as have Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid and chase more jobs overseas.  To illustrate, below is a paragraph from HHS regarding Obamacare and the SHOP program.

“Consistent with the scope of the Exchange establishment and eligibility proposed rules, this final rule does not address all of the Exchange provisions in the Affordable Care Act; rather, more details will be provided in forthcoming guidance and future rule making, where appropriate.”
 

From what I have read in the 644 page document, Final Rule State Healthcare Exchanges, from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), how the final rules address small business, capitalism and the entrepreneurial spirit and the heroine in this movie may die.

Let’s look at the subplot, lawyers and paperwork. It takes a lawyer to spawn a comment like this, “The final rule does not address all of the insurance exchange provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and additional rules will address those, according to the rule.”

Great ambiguity, but true!  There’s plenty of room for HHS to make up more rules and regulations under the auspices of Obamacare.

Obamacare is a lawyer’s dream!  In a country and a society as litigious as the USA and a law this broad, full of waivers (prejudices), exceptions and rules yet undefined; wasn’t instituting this law insanely àpropo?!  In 2014 and beyond, the justice system will be brought to its knees.  No.  It has already been brought to its knees.  It will be buried!  So will many small businesses be buried, who can’t afford a good lawyer; who can’t afford the paperwork explosion.

HHS says one form.  SHOP says only two forms, but if you read between the lines you know the paperwork will border on the ridiculous.  Hello!, fellow small business owners…think annual Worker’s Comp. audits!  Worker’s Comp. audits will be nothing compared to HHS audits sure to follow.

Here’s a snippet.  Keep in mind this is one paragraph of a 664 page document to mandate a final rule on SHOP!

“Consistent with the statutory directive for HHS to provide a single, streamlined application form, we also proposed that the SHOP use only two application forms: one for qualified employers and one for qualified employees. We further proposed that for the purpose of determining eligibility in the SHOP, the SHOP may use the information attested to by the employer or employee on the application but must, at a minimum, verify that an individual attempting to enter the SHOP as an employee is listed on the qualified employer’s roster of employees to whom coverage is offered. We also proposed that the SHOP have processes to resolve occasions when the SHOP has a reason to doubt the information provided through the employer and employee applications. In addition, similar to the individual market Exchange standards, we proposed that the SHOP notify an employer or employee seeking coverage of the SHOP’s eligibility determination and the employer or employee’s right to appeal.

The final ruling on SHOP brings more questions than answers.

Bigger government, more regulation, new laws, especially the behemoth of all laws, Obamacare, create entirely new industries. Obamacare will undoubtedly create another cottage industry, like Dodd-Frank did for compliance and regulation, but Obamacare will create a tsunami of new so called experts spawned to aid small cash strapped businesses navigate Obamacare. Essentially they are government created jobs and all at taxpayers’ expense.

Many businesses are started by sole proprietors. Sole proprietors are excluded from SHOP. Sole proprietors pay the same tax rate as LLCs and Sub-S Corps. Don’t sole proprietors often spawn small businesses?

What if an employee can find a better plan by shopping the individual market and he or she wants to opt out of a company’s group plan?

Once invited to participate in SHOP can an employee still “SHOP” for their own individual insurance plan.  If the employer is getting a less competitive price due to lack of participation, how does that affect the employer’s plan and administration?

Regardless of the “one bill for all” concept which most small businesses already enjoy, if you have 10, 20 or 50 employees, you may have to track different deductibles for each employee.

Will HHS and SHOP pit employers and employees against one another; against insurers?

Will SHOP leave one employer at a competitive disadvantage with other employers based on participation and economy of scale?

On the other hand, if insurance companies have to give individual employees the same price as employers, which according to SHOP is the rule, the price goes up for employers.  Don’t the private insurers win?

What if you have employees in different geographical areas?  What if  they are eligible for different, more competitive SHOPs?

Certainly there will be more questions.

Today the private health insurance company is on the hook for the employer’s unpaid bills, not the government.  With the government on the hook for unpaid health insurance premiums at least with SHOP, the winner is the insurer.  The loser is the taxpayer.

The Aliens have landed, their spores have been planted and come 2014 there will be no stopping them.  In the role of big government, Obamacare rules. 

I can save you some time.  All I’ve learned about the details of how the exchanges are going to work is summarized above.  To learn more HHS or your state government will have to set up SHOP.

As for the spread of big government, here’s a glimpse of the future (another excerpt).

“SHOP may want to fulfill additional functions outside the scope of the proposed rule in order to offer employers a streamlined experience when managing their employee benefits. These commenters proposed that the SHOP sell other types of insurance, administer COBRA on behalf of participating employers, administer flexible spending accounts, assist small employers in setting up Section 125 plans, and oversee wellness programs.”  “We will take these comments into account as we consider future guidance on the offering of other products on the Exchange.”

Stay tuned!

Made in the USA

Originally posted on The Real McCoy for Small Business:

“Made in the USA” isn’t about the Big 3 automakers…

It’s time to put the brakes on government spending. The road to recovery lies with the success of small businesses, not with behemoth car companies and big labor. If we were going to bailout anyone, we should have bailed out the car dealerships and auto supply companies to allow them to remarket, retool and invest in new technologies. We should be growing our tax base, which is only going to happen if we fuel the small business private sector. Speaking of which, why are we not doing more to grow and keep promising small business technology companies and their technology jobs in the USA, where our best talent and our best jobs can remain right here at home?

“You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living…

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“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay

Originally posted on The Real McCoy for Small Business:

Business is improving, despite all the obstacles in this unpredictable economy that remain and those ahead of us.  This is largely self-fulfilling prophecy as our engine runs on premium personnel and our management team isn’t half-bad either.

We have invested a great deal in new products and new markets.  I’m a big fan of Alan Kay’s expression, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

I guess you could say this message comes somewhat diluted by the BP oil spill.  Accidents, like the BP oil spill and natural disasters are unpredictable but they are going to happen.  I can see the raw and gut-wrenching affects as they unfold for our neighbors in the Gulf States and the Florida Panhandle.  We are certainly not exempt from the fallout.  We are also far more fortunate.

There’s little one can do in the moment but there is much that can…

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Added Regulatory Burden is a Tax on Community Banks, Credit Unions and Small Business

This is the message from Financial Institutions (FIs) and Small Businesses burdened with Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank and Obamacare.

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Although the Sarbanes Oxley has been in effect since 1992, bank regulators have turned up the heat on FIs and small businesses that support them in recent years.  Regulators have tasked FIs with obtaining extensive background on their 3rd party vendors, not the least of which is a Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) 70 Type I or Type II.  Type II is much more comprehensive and is required if a 3rd party vendor has access to sensitive FI data.  Many small businesses have to deal with PCI compliance and regulatory uncertainties placed upon them by Dodd-Frank and Obamacare, as well.

The “short link” to this narrative is  community banks, credit unions and small businesses have to dedicate at least one full-time employees (FTE), plus high level management’s time to manage these regulatory requirements. 

FI’s are comprised mainly of community banks and credit unions with assets of 50 million to 10 Billion.  Many of them are small businesses too, employing 25-50 employees on the lower end to hundreds on the higher end.  Therefore FIs employ FTEs and/or outside consultants to manage the burden.  The SAS 70 requires a great deal of technical expertise.  In addition small businesses have had to hire their own 3rd party accounting, legal, security and compliance experts to test regs tied to intrusion detection, audited financial statements and site inspections.  Vendors have had to install and keep up-to-date hardware, including an array of security cameras and a “boat load” of security and encryption hardware and software, as well.

Consider these FIs manage 20-30 3rd party vendors .  Add to this the cost to each vendor, small community banks and credit unions, who have to manage the same regs.  Consider the changes vendors have needed to make to the software they provide to FIs.  The costs could be well into the billions. 

Add to this hundreds of businesses, call it a “cottage” industry, that have sprung up to aid  3rd party vendors and FIs who can’t afford to deal with all these new government regs and compliance.  Small business vendors can easily spend $10,000 or more per month to provide compliance to customers and the security they need under ever increasing government regulations.  Ironic isn’t it?  New businesses are spawned by increases in government regualtions.

Added regulatory burden is a tax on small business.  Businesses, especially small businesses have to pass that cost to our customers and so on to the end result, the consumer.

One final consideration.  Community banks, credit unions and small businesses are not going to get the media attention of Occupy Wall Street.  We are occupied with raising our families, growing our businesses and gainfully employing people who want to work for a living.  We generate over 60% of the new jobs in this country.  If our government continues to go down the path of increased regulatory burden and continues to place the burden on small business, legislators will have fewer laws to pass, fewer regulations to enforce and fewer job creators to tax.  You will put us and more of my fellow job creators out of work.

Here’s our  message to our representatives in government…

“If you continue to put small businesses,  the real job creators out of business, we will turn the full force of our entrepreneurial spirit into making those of you, who over-burden us with excessive regulatory burden, out of business, too!”

Background:  SAS 70 was issued in 1992 and there have been no changes in it until now. Now effective for accounting periods beginning on or after June 15, 2011 a new standard, Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) 16 will be in effect. Do not expect any immediate changes. Most companies have fiscal years that correspond to the calendar year. For those the new standard will not be effective until January 1, 2012 and the reporting under the new standard will not be available until the company’s financial results for 2012 are published in 2013. Many people misinterpreted the SAS 70 report as a means to obtain assurance regarding a vendor’s controls over compliance and operations. It was not. It was only a report of the vendor’s controls over financial reporting matters. The new SSAE16 reports will be much more comprehensive.

Under the new reporting regime there will be three varieties of reports, SOC 1, 2 and 3. The SOC 1 report will be similar to the existing SAS 70 report in that it will report on the company’s controls relative to its financial reporting. A SOC 2 report may address one or more of the following five key system attributes:

* Security – The system is protected against unauthorized access (both physical and logical).

* Availability – The system is available for operation and use as committed or agreed.

* Processing integrity – System processing is complete, accurate, timely and authorized.

* Confidentiality – Information designated as confidential is protected as committed or agreed.

* Privacy- Personal information is collected, used, retained disclosed and disposed of in conformity with the commitments in the entity’s privacy notice, and with criteria set forth in Generally Accepted Privacy Principles (GAPP) issued by the AICPA.

The new auditing framework places additional demands on the management of the organization being audited. Management must make a representation of the controls in place and a criteria for the description of the system, design and operating effectiveness of the controls. It must also evaluate the risks that threaten the achievement of the control objectives and any changes that were made in the system during the period.

 

Who isn’t afraid of failing?!

The Wallenda factor is just a normal fear of falling!  Who isn’t afraid of falling?!

“Just in case you haven’t heard, the Wallenda factor refers to the fear of falling or failing. Shortly after Karl Wallenda fell to his death in 1978 (traversing a 75-foot high wire in downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico), his wife, also an aerialist, discussed that fateful San Juan walk, “perhaps his most dangerous.”  She recalled: “All Karl thought about for three straight months prior to it was falling. It was the first time he’d ever thought about that, and it seemed to me that he put all his energies into not falling rather than walking the tightrope.”

Life is like traversing a tight rope.
If you think you need a safety net,
It won’t be long before you fall. 
Live your life without a safety net,
Or be prepared to live your life
Closer to the ground. 
Alan J Wiessner 
 
Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist says, “Pessimism is complacency.”   I think generally speaking I would have to say at times I exercised pessimism in certain situations.  I can relate it to looking in the mirror each morning and thinking, “I’m not getting any younger or thinner,  for that matter.”  I’m over that now!

To see the video - just click on the picture

Last year I spoke of challenges.  This year, I believe anything’s possible!  Last year I spoke of good fortunes, we were fortunate enough to have earned another year in business.  I said I was proud of the intellectual property (IP) and talent we had.  This year I am confident our talent pool here is second to none.    Everyone has bought into The Rational Optimist theme, “Everybody is working for everybody else.” Last year I said opportunities present challenges.

We have faced those challenges.  We have conquered many and we are prepared conquer the future.   While politicians in Washington scrum over the economy and jobs,  free market goes out and creates 100 mpg cars, even driverless cars. We need to tell our politicians…anything’s possible.This year we will focus again on making our products easier to use, easier to install and cloud ready.   Inside Integra, we will continue to concentrate on developing and acquiring better tools to do our jobs in a more productive environment.  Last year’s message was, “Attitude is everything.”   

This year we will continue  to encourage a positive attitude in the workplace, with our customers, partners and suppliers.  Everybody is working for everybody else (click on the picture to the left for the video) because again…. anything’s possible.  Finally, last year I predicted growth would be next our greatest challenge and we grew significantly.  We remain well positioned to take advantage of those significant gains in 2012 and beyond.

To see an awesome video – just click on the picture

I’ll leave you with a great video (click on the photo below) and when you feel that wave of pessimism coming on, remember, anything’s possible.

“We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, then is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle

Lick of sense?!

Hugh, what were you thinking?!

I wish we could all afford to be like Newt Gingrich.  Gingrich is obviously someone who is used to getting what he wants.  If he doesn’t get it, he throws a childlike tirade.

He threw a fit when Romney ran an attack Ad that derailed his bid for the Iowa primary win.  If you are from Iowa and you haven’t seen it, you’re a Democrat and you don’t watch TV.  Suffice it to say, it was a pointed attack on Gingrich, labeling him as a corrupt politician, using his influence for personal enrichment and it is accurate.

He subsequently launched Obama’s campaign for re-election by producing and running an Ad against Romney, his years at Bain, a private equity firm and Romney’s involvement in some of Bain’s less successful ventures, costing people jobs.  NEWT, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!?  First, you, as a business owner, know full well there are good reasons and bad, to get into bed with a private equity firm.  The good is personal enrichment and potential for tremendous growth and success for your business.  The bad is accountability.  Once you make a deal and accept their money, it’s produce results or die.

Everyone with a “lick of sense” as my granddad used to say, knows that. So here’s the bottom line in a capitalist society in capitalist term, “like it or leave it.”  Go live in Greece.

The Gingrich’s wife No.2 goes on TV and says he wanted an “open marriage.”  OK guys?   If you are a regular guy,  you may look twice, conjure up the thought and move on.  Not Newt.  Newt thinks so highly of himself, he thinks he’s “entitled” to an open marriage.

Now Newt claims he’s found religion.  He’s sorry for his past indiscretions.  I think Newt knows Newt in current form wouldn’t find a woman willing to enter into an open marriage unless he paid for it.  So when the mainstream media calls him out for his delusional behavior he throws a fit on national TV and gets an ovation!  I don’t agree with ABC for airing his former wife’s claims against him, but once said, who is going to blame the media or for that matter the voters to question his judgment.

We can criticize a man, Romney, who has been married to one woman, a Mormon, for over 35 years and makes lots of money and we consider that shameful, but a man who takes money for political favor, an influence peddler and pays alimony is suddenly the new messiah for the Republican party?

I can’t help but think about the famous interview Jay Leno did with Hugh Grant when he cheated on his beautiful wife, actress Elizabeth Hurley.  Jay Leno simply said, “What were you thinking!?”

It’s been a long 3 years!  We need some R&R.  Romney and Rubio for President/VP!

Yes We Did! We Built From the Ground Up (Mr. President)!

The oldest living Live Oak in Pinellas County

What does “shovel ready” really mean to a small business owner?  It means building a business from the ground up!

Are you sick of this class warfare?!  Do we want to elect a President that knows more about how to spend OP’s money or one who knows how to cut spending and increase revenues?

Memo to the President: I started my own business over 24 years ago and I built it from the ground up.  My business has gone from a one man band to well… suffice it to say,  we have increased full-time employment (FTEs)  significantly, private sector jobs and without government assistance.

As a community organizer, President Obama certainly can appreciate the value of a grassroots movement.  In other words, contributions made from the ground up can have a very positive effect on the community.  In President Obama’s case, that would pertain to social issues and how he was able to help people who were impoverished and disadvantaged.  Admirable, but the money he raised had to come from somewhere, most likely charitable contributions and local, state and federal government tax revenues which to a significant percentage, come from small businesses.  A vote for conservative principles, capitalism and common sense regulation, is a vote for small business.  So get on our bandwagon!

In my case, contributions to my small business came in the form of personal sacrifices; from my personal savings; taking no salary for some time, taking less salary for some time and mind you, no vacations for many years.  I had to continue to pay my bills, feed my family and keep a roof over our heads.  When my saving ran out I took a second mortgage on my house.

I chose to go it on my own.  I took all my savings, borrowed from family, friends my home and started my own business.  My kids saw me on weekends.

The President refers to Middle American’s like it doesn’t include small business owners.  Most small business owners take a significant portion of what their small business earns and they reinvest in their business. The President knows how small businesses earn income and chooses to ignore it.  Small business people “pay it forward.”  Our income goes back into our business, meaning jobs and if for no other reason, in today’s economy, it’s grow or die! 

I’m offended by the President’s misguided belief that wealthy Americans are the problem in this divide between Republicans and Democrats. 

At the end of the day I’m “bone tired” and the threats of higher taxes, more regulation and Obamacare chill me to the bone.  Most wealthy Americans are hard-working, who have their own plan on how to spread the wealth around.  I have much more faith in free enterprise.

President Obama just doesn’t care.  How could he?  He’s never walked in a small business owner’s shoes.  Mr. President, you will never walk in my shoes or the shoes of millions of small business owners.  Here’s how it works:

  1. Believe in yourself
  2. Take a huge chance.
  3. Put your own money behind it.
  4. Believe you can do better.
  5. Commit yourself, your family and your friends to get behind you.
  6. Repeat Numbers 1 –5.

As the expression goes, those are pretty big shoes to fill.  Free enterprise and small businesses come from the ground up.  Powerful stuff!

 

The Real Middle Class is the “Middle Seat” on Southwest Airlines

The real middle class?  Invisible. The mainstream media and the politicians can’t see us from where they’re sitting. 

Nothing the middle class does is less than “first class.”

They don’t care about labels or Occupying Anything unless it’s a celebration, like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

They can’t afford first class tickets.  So they fly Southwest Airlines.

The real “middle class” is willing to stand in line for a bargain.  They rarely complain.  When it comes to flying, they’re just happy to have afforded a seat to a destination for which they are committed and it doesn’t much matter how they get there.

In the real world, Mr. President, there’s no time for “class warfare.”  In this economy, if you do your job, the middle class can do their job. There’s no time for “camplaigning.”

I see the middle class on Facebook, but they much prefer face time.  They are grandparents visiting their grandkids.  They are students heading home with their laundry.   They are guests to a wedding.  They are the bereaved heading to a funeral. They are small business people trying to close the deal.

That would be me, my boarding pass was C4 on a full flight.  Just so you know C4 on a Southwest flight is not a seat number, it a place marker in line.  C4 means 120 passengers have boarded the flight before you and you’re playing musical chairs with anyone standing in front of you or behind.  Those people already seated, they want nothing to do with you! Trust me!

If they are the mainstream media, the pundits, the celebrities, the sound bites and the politicians who want to define the rich and the middle class, they don’t fly Southwest.  I think that can define them.  They are elitists.  I define an elitist as someone who thinks most everyone else is ignorant or stupid.  Attention elitists!  C4 on a Southwest flight is 9 times out of 10, a middle seat.  Then again, if I have to explain C4 on a Southwest flight to an elitist, I guess that makes me one.  So I guess I’m not qualified to run for office.

Middle class America cannot be defined or redefined by sound bites.  The only chance their agenda gets any traction?  It’s if the middle class isn’t looking out the window on our last flight, taking the 30,000 foot view.  They’re too busy dealing with what’s in their lap.  More likely?  Elitist fly first class thinking they’re a pillow away from another Democrat president.  A luxury we cannot afford.

FYI – The only class warfare for me comes with a “Ding!” and it’s all about getting an aisle seat.

If you subscribe and email me, I’ll tell you the secret to flying first class on Southwest.

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I Am Experience!

Some “rich guys” just won a $250K lottery.  It’s all over the news.  So what?!   They don’t deserve it?

Is that what life is all about?  Blame the rich for your problems or do you have the guts and resilience to earn a living?  Make money, maybe lots of money.  If you have the guts, you will make mistakes.  New mistakes, mind you.  You can’t afford muck it up over and over again.

Lord knows I make mistakes!  I live for the entitlements I deserve.  To live free.  To choose to make mistakes, without the fear of reprisal.  To act upon my own convictions within the law

I managed a large sales organization for NCR Corp.  I told my salespeople, “lose more orders!”  It took a little getting used to the idea but they learned, “I am experience.”

If I could reach into my bag of mistakes and pull out just one success, I might be one of those “rich guys” or just maybe who I am.  I like to think I’m still living my life.  If you ask me who I am, I will tell you, I am experience.

How about the day ahead of me?  When will I step over the line and where will that line be drawn?  If I step over the line, I will have to choose, success or failure. There is no middle ground.  I am experience.

Mistakes are getting old, if you’re like me… old.  I grow weary of the next opportunity.  There was a time, when I was  hungry. A hunter.  I would seek opportunities to be successful.  I have since learned the definition of success.  If you make enough mistakes, opportunities seek you.  I am experience.

I have already left yesterday’s mistakes behind me.  Today’s opportunities beckon me back.  Give me a tomorrow, whatever I was doing and wherever I have been.  I can make tomorrow, a better future.  I am experience!

And if I had yesterday back, if I had spent a buck and if I had bought the winning lottery ticket, I’d have to say, I’m one of those “rich guys.”  Where’s the crime in winning the lottery?  maybe they should charge millionaires more? How about $2 a ticket?

Most rich guys are portrayed as useless money grubbers. I’d bet my bottom dollar on the rich guys, because most “rich guys” can say, I am experience.

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This stretch of road is all behind you now…

Photographer, Mary Wiessner

I Can’t Do This Anymore!

“When you bust through all the layers of brevity and you have shaken all the hands of hope, you can begin to share the depths of despair depression can bring.”

If you are afflicted by or live with someone with severe depression, you’re no stranger to words of despair.  You try to remain stoic while your insides are churning.  Helpless in the moment. They’re gripped by desperate thoughts. And all you can do is to tell them it is going to be OK. Tell them it isn’t going to last.   Tell them they will get better.   Both of you must endure.

Tears may come easy to some, sometimes for no reason.  Depression can often hide behind a smile.  It’s no cliché.  If you have shared a moment or a lifetime with someone who is severely depressed, the eyes are truly the window to their soul.  Looking into the eyes of someone you love, eyes you have seen filled with joy, mischief, love and wonderment; that are suddenly filled with tears, fear, pain and bewilderment, is gut-wrenching.  The only reprieve is an embrace.

Even those closest to one suffering from depression often react with bewilderment, impatience, aggravation, even divisiveness by someone’s sudden onset and deep dive into depression. The problem is there is more than one reality.

Depression is an alternate reality, a place where all that is burdensome or worrisome is amplified tenfold and more.  Those who are afflicted with depression are rolling down a road to nowhere.

There are millions of clinically depressed people who are not normally self-absorbed, who are living productive lives, who are contributing to society, who are contributing to their friends and families, yet live with a profound sadness and who are depressed.  These are people who are suffering from depression, who love life, who love others and who dread the unwelcome, unanticipated, unprovoked; and most disturbing, suffer undeserved moments of despair.

Moments of despair that often metastasize into hours, days, weeks and beyond. Some severely depressed people never make it back, back to living the productive lives they were meant to live.

Those who live, love, are friends with or have a depressed person in their lives need to embrace that person, even when that person doesn’t know or care if you are there.

You have to hold out for a loved one afflicted with depression, let them know you are there without prejudice, without demands and bring a boatload of patience.  Reach out to them, through the tears.  Find them in your embrace.  Welcome them back.  Cherish every moment.

With depression, there’s always a way back.  The fact is, if you can be a severely depressed person and face a severe episode (incident) of depression with defiance and say, “I won’t take this anymore.”  If you can face the feelings of fear and desperation by surrendering to those feelings, letting go, letting those feelings roll over you and believe in yourself its possible you can endure each successive episode until your psyche has put these feelings behind you.

I wrote “This Stretch of Road Is All Behind Me” because I often find people in places where they never want to be.  I believe this stretch of road for those who live with misery, including depression, that road can be behind you.

This stretch of road is all behind me…

No more rolling down this road called misery.
I’m no saint. No savior wannabe.
I’m not here to take a fall.
I’m just here passing through, that’s all.
Cause that road I was headed down,
Placed a hurt on me… a hurt on me.
People bent, people broken.
People’s names left unspoken.
I’m not headed down that road.
No. No. No more.
So I’m taken a turn for right or wrong.
This stretch in the road is all behind me.
My mind, my bed is already made.
There’s no more yesterday’s in my head.
No more yesterday’s hanging over me. Over me.
All I see is ahead of me. Ahead of me…
People bent, people broken.
People’s names left unspoken.
I’m not headed down that road.
No. No. No more.
Hear me now.
There’s no going back! So just don’t go there.
You hear me?
Alan J Wiessner
10-31-2011
 

Note to readers: There are many roads to a cure for depression. There are also many forks in the road and dead ends, too. Drug therapy is not an exact science. There are many good self-help books, good therapists, effective drugs and other forms of therapy. If the road you take doesn’t work, don’t give up. There are many roads available. Don’settle.

One of the best sites on Depression.

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Technology Can Drive Us Out of This Fog

Driverless cars, don't worry there's a BMW and Audi, too.

“Driverless cars,” what better message to tell government to get out of the way!

“This fog” being the deficit.  In fact we are in a fog and missing the “byte”when we as a country, look towards investing more in asphalt highways, in roads and rail and less towards technology, the information highway to invest in our future competitiveness in the global marketplace.

The future is technology and “smart or driverless cars” Yes, cars that drive themselves. 

Admittedly they have to “learn the course.”  Like on HWY 5 in LA bumper to bumper smart cars will drive at 80 mph during rush hour.  Think about navigating your iPad or reading your Kindle while your smart car drives itself.  Your commute can be cut in half because your car’s the ass who tailgate the car in front of you without getting flipped “the bird” or into a “fender bender.”  Who needs more infrastructure?

Currently we are chasing four economies in global competitiveness, including Number One, Switzerland.  Number Two is Singapore?  Number Three is Sweden and Number Four is Finland.  We’re Number Five.  Number Five!

Read my Blog post India Gets IT! Information Technology that is….  The message should be clear.  Most ground breaking technology (IT)  is spawned by small business.  I know.  I am the founder and CEO of an IT business who has spawned new products that include all the ingredients of a successful small business that can compete globally.

I consider myself a grinder, maybe a lone wolf.  Prideful.  A do-it-yourselfer.  Is that the definition of an entrepreneur?  It depends on who you ask.  Is that the definition of a small business owner?  More than likely the answer would be “yes.”  The difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner?  None, until the entrepreneur, who is an idea capitalist who chooses outside angel or VC investors.

Everybody has heard of the IPO bubble in the early 2000’s where billions of investment dollars were squandered on ideas.  I pride myself by coining the phrase, “An idea is only worth it’s execution.”  The idea capitalist who decides to  forego outside investors, the grinder, the small business person, is more likely to sustain upticks and downturns in the economy.

We have a 14B deficit.  We have  over 9% unemployment,  We can argue how we might cut entitlements or raise taxes on the rich all day long.  The bottom line is all we want is our cake and eat it too. So I’ll let the experts argue what we need to do to stimulate the economy, reduce the deficit and add jobs.  Afterall they have all the answers, don’t they?

Unfortunately the answer is “no.”  Instead of idea capitalists, we have intellectual genocide where MSNBC pundits who have never had an original idea in their lives, interview (bait) Herman Cain about his 9.9.9 proposal and dismiss it with the age old adage that assumes “poor people” spend more of their  income? on consumer goods than rich people therefore a national sales tax is a burden on the poor.  Since poor people have little or no income how does this equate?  Herman Cain is an idea capitalist.  He is a grinder.  Given the opportunity, he will be successful in helping the US create jobs, lower the deficit and increase our global competitiveness.

The real answer is to increase small business competitiveness in a global economy.  The Obama administration wants to spend billions more on infrastructure.  All I can think of are traffic cones and hard hats standing in our way and in the way of the progress we are making in new technology.  Technology that solves the infrastructure problems and creates jobs.

“It makes little sense for the United States to turn away highly educated immigrants who seek to come here. It makes equally little sense to train talented foreign students in our universities but then fail to integrate them into our economy. Nearly 300,000 foreign students are enrolled in advanced degrees programs here, but the great majority will return home. We are casting away the fruits of our own investment. As has long been our American tradition, we should encourage the world’s innovators, inventors, and pioneers to immigrate to the United States and we should encourage those we train to settle and create jobs here.”  Romney for President (2011-09-01). Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth

 Visa Caps for Highly Skilled Workers

As president, Mitt Romney will also work to establish a policy that staples a green card to the diploma of every eligible student visa holder who graduates from one of our universities with an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering. These graduates are highly skilled, motivated, English-speaking, and integrated into their American communities. Permanent residency would offer them the certainty required to start businesses and drive American innovation.  Romney for President (2011-09-01). Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth.

Mitt Romney, Idea Capitalist

Are jobs coming back to the US?  Case in point.  A big business goes overseas to China  to make an integral component of a product going to market.  The product can be produced at 50% of the cost to produce the part in the US.  The product made overseas requires a delivery timeframe of 12 weeks as opposed to 4 weeks in the US.  The part is produced and delivered but not according to spec.  A US company, TJH Manufacturing, Zion, IL, with a stellar reputation is recruited to re-engineer and deliver the part in time for market.  The big business with the overseas propensity ends up paying four times the originally anticipated product cost.

My vote is for a “driverless government,” but first we have to put Congress and the Administration through the course.  Let’s start by teaching them the constitution.

If You’re Going to Lay Pipe, Why Not Do It Right?

How Do I Mix Oil and Water?

These oil spills can be prevented, not to be confused with the term “Oil Sands,”but do I have your attention?

You don’t.   Not unlike capitalists and environmentalists.  

But if you’re going to lay pipe, why not do it right (twice)?  The Calgary-based TransCanada’s $7-billion Keystone XL pipeline is the dubious answer.  The proposed pipeline is a major infrastructure project that would create 20,000 unionized construction jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax and other revenues in the six states through which it would pass. How about we appease both sides of this controversy; the environmentalist hate it and the capitalists love it; by adding to the mix?  Add a water pipeline.  An irrigation pipeline.  Bury it right next to the oil pipeline.  Collect and dispense water from the pipeline as needed.

Send it down and dispense it through parched draught stricken lands and collect it from flood swollen, land dispensing and collecting water as needed, creating the most progressive irrigation system the world has ever known.  Where in the world are we experiencing droughts?  Think Texas.  Not to mention Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.  Check out Wall Street Journal Business article called “Facing Up to End of ‘Easy Oil’” by Ben Casselmann, dated May 24, 2011.

The sweetest part of all… the oil companies and the Canadian government and Canadian corporations can subsidize it.  Just ask Exxon.  They’re spending millions to advertise it.  Ask Canada’s ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer.  He can hardly refuse a slam dunk.  Don’t forget our environmentalists.  Ask Margot Kidder arrested for protesting the pipeline.  Is she going to deny the drought and flood victims the relief from water?  Water, life giveth, life taketh away.

Oil Sands!

Oil Sands

Now it’s up to our State Department.  They need to decide before year-end (2011).  Move over Bill!  Maybe it’s time for Hillary to lay some pipe.  How do you mix oil and water?!  Wired  Magazine has some ideas.  Maybe we lay less pipe?

In any case, nothing is ever easy.  Unless you’re Bill.

 

We Need More “Idea” Capitalists to Bailout this Economy

“An idea is only worth it’s execution.”

We need more people with imagination running this government and this economy, but they need to be “idea capitalists.”  You don’t have to be a poet, a writer, a painter or movie producer too be an idea capitalist.  If you have a good idea, you can be a grinder, maybe even a lone wolf.  If you’re prideful, maybe to a fault, you can be an idea capitalist, one who capitalizes on their own ideas.

Idea capitalists do whatever it takes to execute on their ideas.  The idea capitalist, the grinder, the small business person, is more likely to survive upticks and downturns in the economy.

Herman Cain is an idea capitalist. He is a grinder. Given the opportunity he will be successful in helping the US create jobs, lower the deficit and increase our global competitiveness.

Herman Cain

The mainstream media and self-serving politicians contribute to idea capitalist’s genocide.

MSNBC pundits who have never had an original idea in their lives, interviewing (baiting) Herman Cain about his 9.9.9 proposal dismissed his ideas with the age old adage that assumes “poor people” spend more of their income on consumer goods than rich people therefore a national sales tax is a burden on the poor.  They have deep-sixed the FairTax too.  They haven’t researched the FairTax proposal otherwise they would know that FairTax offers rebates to lower income people who are FairTaxed.

The real answer is to increase small business competitiveness in a global economy. The Obama administration wants to spend billions more on infrastructure. More about this soon in a new post titled “Missing the Byte”, a play on words.  In fact we are ”missing the boat” when we, as a country, are investing more in the “asphalt highway”, in roads and rail than in new technology, the” information highway” which is an investment in our future competitiveness in the global marketplace.  Check out my post, India Gets IT.

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Old millionaires should pay more taxes!!!

You’re absolutely right Mr. Buffet!

Caution!  This is what the government does to old money!

If you are an old millionaire and all you’re doing is making money, you should pay more taxes.  Send your check here.

The problem is there are many up and coming millionaires that are making products, providing services and creating jobs.  They should be paying less taxes than they do today.  They should be investing their income in products, services and jobs.

On the other hand, there are many millionaires that aren’t making money.  They’re making jobs.

With all due respect to a man, no, an institution for free enterprise Mr. Buffet, you have lost your way.

When I say old, I’m not disparaging your age.  I’m only calling attention to the problem at hand. The government wastes our tax dollars.  Point to one venture the government has undertaken that makes money with our tax dollars and I will stand corrected?

Let’s tax what you spend!

Take your money and run the other way!  Invest it in free enterprise and all you will see is progress, more jobs and a healthier economy.

Your letter to the public calls for millionaires like yourself to pay more than twenty (20%) percent of your income, in taxes.  No problem!  If Congress and the President get behind the Fairtax, you’ll be able to put your money where it should be, taxed fairly…

Why don’t we see more politicians, the media and fair-minded people like you talking about Fairtax.org?

In fact, you should take Fairtax up with our President?

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Threadbare – Not just a pretty face – Reg update

Reg Update – Resume

Reg’s story Threadbare – Not just a pretty face.

Jobs in the retail profession and clothing business remain scarce in Atlanta.  I recently spoke to Reg who was taking an OSHA class for his not so temporary job.  He had taken a “temporary” supervisory job in construction to help with the Lepper household cash flow.  That was almost three years ago.  It requires a hard hat and steel toed boots.  Hartmarx evidently, doesn’t sell steel toed boots.  He bought the boots from Wal-Mart – $19 bucks.

There are blisters on every toe.  He’s up at 5 AM.  It takes an hour  to get to the job site.

It’s 6:45 PM,  so he’s just getting home now.

I hear some of our Congressmen and women are complaining about the hours they’re spending away from home and now they are complaining about how much they make.  They’re getting a steady paycheck and Cadillac benefits.

They won’t pull this economy up by it’s boot straps.  Reg and people like him will.

Maybe they need a swift kick in the keester from those boots I’m talkin’ about.

Maybe they should just go home and be with their family?

Meantime, Reg has been and is actively looking for work.  Sending out his (click on the link to Reg’s “resume“) doing  job interviews, volunteering his time for Career Ministry and consulting their members regarding many aspects of their search for new opportunities and careers.

Threadbare – Not Just Another Pretty Face

“When you bust through all the layers of brevity and you have shaken all the hands of hope, you can begin to share the depths of depression joblessness can bring.”

This pretty much sums it up if you are over 50 and looking for employment.

Reg – Not Just Another Pretty Face.

When I decided to do this story about my good friend, Reg Lepper I thought maybe it would help him by building on the social networking he had already begun on LinkedIn and Facebook.

As I began learning more from him about his 27 plus year career at Hartmarx, known for its Hart Schaffner & Marx and Hickey Freeman suits, and for making President Obama’s inauguration tuxedo and topcoat, I realized the complex struggle he and his cadre of sales professionals and the plant workers endured.

The company and its United States subsidiaries filed for bankruptcy in January, 2009. Workers threatened to occupy Hartmarx’s plant if the company’s creditor, Wells Fargo Bank, attempted to lay off workers and liquidate the company’s assets.

In August 2009, Emerisque Brands UK and its partner SKNL North America completed their purchase of Hartmarx.While Reg survived the bankruptcy of Hartmarx, the acquisition, ultimately of a foreign owned conglomerate based in India, many of his friends and fellow employees lost their jobs.

Not to be outdone Reg took it upon himself to write an impassioned plea, (click on the link “a letter to the President”) a letter to the President of the United States, Barrack Obama, the beneficiary of the afore-mentioned Hart Schaffner & Marx suits.  Fifteen (15) months after the acquisition Reg, too lost his job.

Like many who are unemployed, Reg wants to work.  He wants to support his family.  Like millions of Americans, there have been forks in the road and to make ends meet, he needs a job.  Reg is, as I describe him on LinkedIn.com business social networking site.

Reg’s now been unemployed for 7 months.  Not for lack of trying.  Reg has employed every means of looking for work.  Shunned by “head hunters” most likely due to his age, Reg is 64.  I can personally vouch for the fact he doesn’t behave or look a day over 30… OK so he looks a bit older, but he’s a firm believer in exercise, has been a long time distance runner.  Now his knees are telling him he needs to go shopping for a good bike – cheap!

That aside, Reg has been and is actively looking for work.  Sending out his (click on the link to Reg’s “resume“) resume doing  job interviews, volunteering his time for Career Ministry and consulting their members regarding many aspects of their search for new opportunities and careers.

Reg isn’t alone.  This is a nationwide plight affecting thousands of households across America.  If you are over 50 and unemployed in today’s economy, you could be facing many challenges including a mortgage underwater.  In such cases, how can you move to accept a job offer across the country?  What if you took a second mortgage out to pay for your kid’s tuition?  What if your kid is living at home because he or she can’t find a job or can’t afford to make ends meet on their own?

So is Reg’s story only about being a high income earner and over 50 an age related layoff?  I began to see there are many other dynamics in play.  Those dynamics include government and politics; how an increase in payroll taxes on corporate America has impacted US manufacturing jobs; and the shift in manufacturing jobs overseas.

Add TARP and “too big to fail”. i.e., Wells Fargo into the picture.  Let’s not forget the unions. Hoping to save their jobs and start a national movement, Hartmarx workers were pressuring Wells Fargo, the company’s main creditor, to approve the sale of Hartmarx to a buyer that would keep it alive instead of liquidating it and most likely putting its celebrated labels on suits made overseas, The New York Times’s Steve Greenhouse reported.tty face.

While I’m not going to rehash all the events which took place and detail the timeline I think it is interesting to point out there were a number of high profile players involved in the decline of the 124 year old company.

While researching this debacle 9 out of every 10 – news articles or posts reference corporate greed or the big bad bank, in this case Wells Fargo, as the culprit.

“That begs the question, “who buys Hartmarx suits?”

The answer is, “Wall Street bankers.”  OK, so who is demonizing Wall Street?  Obama and his posse, including Dick Durbin, Chuck Shumer and Barney Frank those who were championing the case for Hartmarx and union labor against Wells Fargo.

As reported by Progress Illinois:   The news of a potential liquidation (of Hartmarx) caused workers, union leaders, and members of Congress to spring into action to aid the company, which employs 3,000 people nationwide, including 1,000 in Illinois.  Rep. Phil Hare, who spent 13 years as a Hartmarx employee, described himself as “livid” at the bank, which accepted $25 billion in federal bailout funds. He went on to enlist the help of Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Rep.  Jan Schakowsky, whose great-aunt found a job with Hartmarx after emigrating from Russia, called Wells Fargo CEO John Strumpf and urged him to keep the company running.  Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, meanwhile, sent a letter to Strumpf threatening to sever the state’s business with the bank if Hartmarx was ultimately liquidated.

Days after suit maker Hartmarx was sold to Emerisque and its Indian partner S Kumars Nationwide Ltd, SKNL a textile giant three US plants of the clothier have been shut down resulting in the loss of over 500 jobs.  Not a peep out of President Obama, then or now and the Hartmarx factory making his suits in Des Plaines… still open.

Obama, proudly flashing the Hartmarx label

While they may have saved some jobs, politicians and union bosses who should know better and who have voted consistently for more government and more spending weren’t helping the cause.  They may have acted like they are helping Hartmarx employees but their votes for higher taxes and more spending were helping to drive manufacturing jobs overseas.

Reg, on the other hand took it upon himself to champion the cause for Hartmarx workers.  He wrote a letter to the President and stirred the political “hornet’s nest” to get politicians pontificating and deserves a lot of credit for saving US worker’s jobs.

Let it be stated, from all accounts, Emerisque, a British private equity firm working with SKNL, has been doing all it can do to promote and keep the US plants open. In fact, Bud” McCullar, a partner at Emerisque called Reg and commented on how much he cared about the company and fellow employees.  Here’s a quote from Mr. McCullar on Reg’s LinkedIn profile.

“Reg is the consummate seller for an ever evolving apparel and consumer products segments.  From presenting to closing, ever the professional.”

There’s a great book called Built to Last written by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras.  A very dear friend of mine recommended the book to me.   She has been fighting breast cancer for the past 10 years or more.  Apparently she, too, is “built to last.”  Thank God.

The authors define their choice of successful companies’ continued success to be built on “core values” and continued innovation by trying many things through change and recognizing and staying with what works.

If you are the management (CEO) of a company large or small it is your job to see to it you take care of the bottom line and all that goes with it.  That would be principally “cash  flow” management.  Too often, cash flow management is lost on CEOs who are paid for short term gains which inevitably cause long term pain.

That’s why small business is the backbone (more than 70 percent) of the US economy.  For small business cash flow is king.  Our only short term goal is to stay in business, cash flow and grow.

Maybe if more corporate giants and Wall Street bankers had stuck to their core values we wouldn’t be in as big a mess as we are now in today?  Case in point, the merger and acquisition (M&A) frenzy in the 90’s.  Corporate giants, including banks, joined in the M&A rush, to the extent some industry experts were predicting there would only be 3-4 large bank holding companies left in America.

Hartmarx too, jumped into the fray with an acquisition in late 1996.  They added two more in 1998.  In late summer 1999,they added another.  Maybe these acquisitions were good for the company.  I’m not here to judge.  What’s intriguing about the acquisitions is the correlation with offshoring.

In the 1990’s Hartmarx began the offshoring of production facilities to control costs. During that period, they closed ten domestic factories and shifted production to the Far East, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

Someone should have written a book titled Built to “Be” Last – The Decline in Manufacuring Jobs in America – as American manufacturing companies began moving production overseas.

Now here’s the strongest argument yet to keep as to why there are fewer and fewer manufacturing jobs here in America.  If it were not for payroll taxes many more manufacturing jobs in America would have been saved.

While everybody was pointing fingers, blaming everyone but themselves for plant closings and lost jobs, you need not look further than, “it’s payroll taxes… (I’ll let you finish the sentence).”  Granted corporate greed is a factor here.  The problem is many large corporations are multi-national and feel the pressure from foreign competitors not burdened with the higher payroll taxes on workers.

Our government raised payroll taxes in April 1983.  The illustration here shows the investment US corporations began to make overseas according to PoliticalCalculations.com as “unintended consequences” of the payroll tax increase.

If you are a “for profit” company and it is your job to increase shareholder value, you are going to look for ways to lower your costs.  Increasing the payroll taxes on American workers was a major impetus to shift American manufacturing overseas.

We vote to place politicians in office to spend our tax dollars wisely.  They don’t.  On the other hand, we vote with our investment dollars to allow corporate “greed” to profit on the backs of American workers.  They do.

It’s time politicians wake up and reverse the course of lost manufacturing jobs by eliminating payroll taxes and adopting  the FairTax – see www.Fairtax.org.

Ultimately it is up to us as individuals to make the right choices.  This debt crisis is our wake-up call.  Let’s get back to our core values.  If you ask Reg it’s about God, family the desire to contribute his tremendous talent and work ethic to a company and a country “built to last.”

Made in the USA doesn’t have to be about politics or unions.  My good buddy Reg and many of those that have suffered the “unintended consequences” of increases in payroll taxes and lost  manufacturing jobs, will find no comfort here.

For more on Reg click here resume.

Just a buck…

No offense to PetsMart. I’m sure they have the best of intentions.

How embarrassing!

If you have ever stood in line, reached the checkout counter and the cashier asks you if you want to donate to one of a plethora of genuinely legitimate and pressing charitable causes how do you feel?

You could have donated ten percent of your income to your church or to your favorite charity but now you are being called out publicly to donate “just a buck” to a good cause.

What do you do?  Maybe the real question is, “What can you do?”

You are challenged publicly and personally to reach a little deeper into your pocket.  You are faced with a decision to arbitrarily part with a buck.  Maybe it is 1%; 10%; 50% of your purchase.  Maybe you are a frequent shopper and a frequent contributor. Maybe you have factored the additional dollar or more into your purchase price. Maybe you linger in the vicinity of the register so you might checkout without an audience, should you choose to reject the request for just a buck.

That’s the question posed by President Obama tonight to the Republican Party.  He clearly conveyed in his message to the American public this evening, this  is a personal decision and it’s only a buck.  What’s a buck?

President Obama has made this personal.  He is hoping those who oppose him are now faced with making their own very personal decision.

The difference is it’s $400 billion bucks.  The deal was $800 billion in new revenues.  The president raised the ante to $1.2 trillion.  He waited until the Republicans had bought in, ready to swipe their credit card and the line behind them was long, impatient and tired of the delays, lack of service and needed to get on with their lives.  You can pay for it later. Next month or next year.  What’s $400 billion?  After all it’s for a good cause.  It’s for charity.

How can this get any more personal?

From Political Calculations

In 2009, Americans reported nearly $34.9 billion worth of donations to private charities serving the public interest on their federal tax forms, as they claimed the federal government’s tax deduction for charitable contributions on their taxes.  Of all these donations, $19.14 billion, or 54.9%, were made by taxpayer households that reported $200,000 or more in annual income.

Needless to say, that’s a lot of money that President Barack Obama believes would be better spent by the U.S. government in the form of spending controlled by elected U.S. politicians who would receive political benefits from it, which is why the President has repeatedly proposed cutting or eliminating the charitable contribution tax deduction for Americans who earn high incomes.

The President most recently went after the charitable contribution tax deduction in his original budget proposal for the U.S. government’s 2012 fiscal year, which could limit the amount of a tax deduction for high income earners by up to 30%.

Assuming that if not for the tax deduction for charitable contributions that Americans earning high incomes would not donate as much money to private charities, we estimate that the potential effect of the President’s FY2012 budget proposal would affect up to $1.9 billion of charitable contributions.

How fortunate am I?

If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around, does it make a sound?

I have been bowed over in anguish over a job lost; I have placed my hands over my face and head, elbows to my knees gasping for breath; I have barricaded myself behind closed doors.

So, I have often wondered, does a job lost make a sound?

If you have asked our government, technically the answer to both questions is , “No.”

I would have to agree.  Neither seen nor heard, you’re  on your own.

I have experienced both, the latter being much more traumatic, although both are deeply disturbing, I would have to say the tree was less personal and the lesser of two evils.

Symbolic in a fashion, like our government, the tree had been leaning.  It’s weight no longer sustainable, it roots no longer able to bear its growth.

I was deeply affected by the sight of the fallen tree in its magnitude.  It’s beauty and majesty held me in awe.  I often crossed it’s path, never imagining it’s demise.

Falling across a sidewalk, in a city park, the tree was swept away in a day; a series of sawing, grinding and chipping away.  At times the noise was deafening.  And then it was gone.

I, too, had moved on.  Picked myself back up.  Started a new venture.  Today I am rooted strongly, my business supported by faith, family and my business.  Supported by partners, fellow employees, suppliers and customers.

How fortunate for me, I am not a tree.

Time to pony up!

Dear Rich and Famous:

You want to raise taxes on small businesses and raise the debt ceiling so the government can spend more money on the backs of hard-working small business people, our employees and our families.

Put your money where you say it will do the most good.

Send your contributions to:

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Much obliged!

Sincerely,

All the Real McCoy’s for Small Business

Hospitals Are For Sick People!

We are a small business in the “high tech” business.  Our goal is “advancing the paperless office.” It’s a shame our company and so many companies like ours simply cannot afford to do business with the government.

Doing business with the government is  a paperwork and regulatory nightmare.  We don’t have the time, the resources, a team of consultants to guide us or a team of  lawyers to protect us, God forbid we forgot to dot an “i” or cross a “t”.

“That is why The Affordable Care Act is destined to fail. It’s unintelligible.  Just ask anyone who hasn’t read it.”

As a software development company which replaces paper with electronic records, we believe technology can and will solve many of the cost containment problems with healthcare.

The problem is government needs to get out of the way.  Forget about subsidizing doctors with taxpayer dollars for buying government mandated and precertified technology called HITECH.  The problem is there’s too great a cost and too much red tape for a small business to get into the game.

Worse, doctors are going to pay too much money from the select few companies that are willing to run the government gauntlet to become certified under Obamacare.

Let the free market work.  My company has 32 employees.  Healthcare costs are a growing concern for our small business.  We pay the employee’s healthcare in full which has risen on the average more than 10% per year per employee over the past several years.  In the process we are seeing benefits shrink and costs increase for both employer and employee.

This is a partnership between employer and employee.  Employers want to provide a benefit in the form of compensation, in particular with a pre-tax benefit to the employee.  Employees want quality affordable healthcare for their families.  We ask the employees to participate in the decision making process.  We collaborate to find the best available plan for the money.

One of my employees with a spouse and 5 kids says, “I might as well just hand my paycheck back over to you to pay for my family’s healthcare.”

As an employer I feel terrible about this type of sentiment, but I’m paying for the employee’s healthcare, plus the cost to shop and administer the plan.  There’s nothing in it for me but to try to remain competitive in the salary and benefits area with other employers.

The 2011 National Physicians Survey, conducted by Thomson Reuters/HCPlexus and polling almost 3,000 American doctors, shows that while Obamacare would raise spending, premiums, overall U.S. health costs, and debt, it wouldn’t raise the quality of American health care. Rather, by a margin of well over 3 to 1, doctors expect the quality of American health care to decline over the next five years, in the wake of Obamacare’s passage: Only 18 percent of doctors expect the quality of health care to “improve,” while a whopping 65 percent expect it to “deteriorate.”

Recall that Gallup recently announced that only 13 percent of Americans support ObamaCare as is.  I’m not blaming this all on the President, but you have to walk the walk to talk the talk.  The President doesn’t do either.

Health insurance cost is a moving target for small business. In 2010 we paid full medical benefits for 27 FTEs.   Our cost averaged $4,900 per employee per year. This is up only 5% over 2009 due to changing providers from Blue Cross to Humana, changing plans from a PPO to an HMO, higher deductibles and over 1/2 of the FTEs selecting H.S.A.s due to the cost to their families. Since there is really no competition between providers, Blue Cross, Humana and United Healthcare we have been switching from one to the next every 2-3 years based on the plans available and the economics. In 2011 the cost will has increased to $5,030 per employee until August when we will again negotiate a new and undoubtedly less desirable coverage. Keep in mind the impact is felt not only by the employer, but by the employee with spouse and children as well.

The answer to rising prices and declining benefits is to increase competition in the health insurance market.  Why do we need a new law to create healthcare exchanges?  Why can’t we lift existing regulations to allow competition across state lines?  Encourage, not put limits on Health Savings Accounts H.S.A.’s as the new Affordable Care Act does.  I pay for my employee’s health and dental benefits up to the monthly H.S.A premium. If they select a more expensive plan they pay the difference.  I have physicians who have discounted procedures 25% because they know I’m paying for their services out of my own pocket (at least until I reach the out of pocket maximum).  The emphasis at our company is to be healthy.  We have our own gym.  We have a cycling team for the formed to fight MS.  If an individual is making decisions on their own behalf with regard to their health and their health care costs, the cost of healthcare will  truly become more affordable.

The bottom line is we simply cannot afford to get sick.

Where common sense fails. disingenuous, dishonest, demagoguery prevails.

From PoliticalCalculations.com: Combined, the Top Ten recipients of this corporate welfare took 45.6% of the total $1,789,449,634 taxpayer dollars that were doled out, with the United Auto Workers taking the largest chunk by a wide margin, with $206,798,086, or 11.6% of all the taxpayer money that was allocated for the purpose.

Surprisingly, two telecommunication giants AT&T and Verizon took the second and third positions, with 7.8% and 5.1% of the total take respectively.

After that, three state agencies occupied the fourth, fifth and sixth largest positions—the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the Georgia Department of Community Health and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the latter frequently in the news recently for corruption scandals and its massively underfunded pension liabilities.

The eighth and ninth ranks are taken up by the State of New York and the Pension Accounting Services Department within the State of New Jersey’s Treasury Department.  Corporate basket case General Electric, which has come to rely greatly upon government mandates, special protections, subsidies and bailouts for its revenue, rounds out the Top Ten with an even 2.0% of the total handout.

The remaining 1,305 entities collected the remaining 54.4% of the money paid out by the government to pay for the health benefits of people who chose to retire from their professions early, with the Minnesota Cement Masons taking the least of all the recipients, at 60 dollars.  Source: politicalcalcualtions.com


Why do politicians, the president the mainstream media and a plethora of celebs continue to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?  Not so at the Washington Times…

“The president’s own secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, has admitted a major section of the Obamacare law is “totally unsustainable.”

“The now-familiar monthly trickling down of new waivers is, at best, a tacit admission that Obamacare is a failure. So far, seven entire states and 1,372 businesses, unions and other institutions have received waivers from the law. The list includes the administration’s friends and allies and, of course, those who have the best lobbyists.”

“More than 50 percent of the Obamacare waiver beneficiaries are union members, which is striking because union members
account for less than 12 percent of the American work force.”

“But the political payoffs don’t stop there. The Obama administration  didn’t forget its closest friends in the latest round of waivers. Although  there are 435 congressional districts across America, nearly 20 percent of the new waivers, amazingly, found their way to a single district – Mrs. Pelosi‘s.   As for Mr. Reid,  well, the entire state of Nevada found an early waiver in its Christmas stocking.”

The answer is they have no real stake in the game.  Politicians and the President want to be re-elected.  Their own constituents get a pass.  They don’t pay for their own healthcare. The mainstream media and celebrities and their Cadillac health insurance plans can afford to pay more.

The small businesses and their employees are left to deal with big government mandates already proven to unpalatable to 3.1 million individuals exempted from the plan, of which 1.55 million are in union plans. Those who received waivers and those who pay no taxes are going to continue to vote in favor Obama, Pelosi and Reid.  They have held the keys to the kingdom and skyrocketing debt too long.

If you are a taxpayer, do something.  Lean hard on federal, state and local politicians to come up with a better answer to the high cost of healthcare than the Affordable Care Act.

Ask your physician to cut you a break on your healthcare costs.  Negotiate with every insurer who offers healthcare in your state.  Look for plans which cover individuals and their families outside your employer’s plan(s).  Start moving.

Do everything you can to stay healthy.  Hospitals are for sick people.

Note:  Please help us get the good word out.  Share us on your favorite social media site and Stumble Upon.  Thanks.

Like Fine Wine…

Silver Oaks Vineyard

The unemployment jobless rate has jumped for those over 55 from 3.2% to 6.8% since the 2007 recession began.

This is an opportunity for small businesses looking to reduce the risks normally associated with hiring.

As an employer, you might consider “like fine wine, the over 55 candidates should be getting better with age.”

Rule Number One: “Ready to drink.”  Most wines available today are ready to drink (0ver 90%).  If the price is right drink it now.

Heard recently from someone over 55, unemployed, highly qualified and experienced in their line of work.  Someone whom I hold in high regard,

“I feel like I’m letting my wife, my kids and my grandkids down.”

This alarming revelation from someone heretofore has exuded confidence, success in; and dedication to; his family and his career like none other.

Over 55 and unemployed, most workers are eager to reenter the workforce.

Rule Number Two: “Taste it.”  There are many experts out there that will tell you what wine to drink and when.  My local wine shop agrees to a point but is adamant about one thing, “it comes down to you and your own personal tastes and preferences.”  The expression, “look good on paper (label)” is a common misnomer.

If you are hiring and you are a “seasoned professional” yourself, you don’t have to look over your shoulder twice to find someone with whom you can relate in the over 55 crowd.  Put these new hires through a probationary period.  They will understand they need to “earn their stripes.”

Rule Number Three: “Preservation of a good wine requires proper resources and planning.”  If you can’t afford to wait and don’t have the proper means to store your wine, drink it now.

In business, when hiring I like to use the expression “hit the deck running.” If you can’t afford to mentor, shadow, train or hire an apprentice or wait for a new hire to become productive, generate revenues, replace intellectual property, hire experience.

Rule Number Four: Price doesn’t dictate taste or value: There are winemakers out there ranging from Cameron Hughes (CH) to garage winemakers who produce excellent wine at excellent values. Famous high end growers in Napa, Sonoma and other areas sell their surplus to winemakers like CH who produce great wines at great values.

Look for experience first. College degrees, certifications, etc… is no substitute for the real deal. Many of the over 55 crowd have been “through the war.” “The proof of the wine is in the tasting.”

Some great reference sites:

http://www.staythirstymedia.com/201107-059/html/201107-sipprelle-washington.html

http://www.staythirstymedia.com/201107-059/html/201107-cavaliere-starting-over.html

http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.com/2010/08/teens-vs-geezers-in-us-job-market.html

Paint yourself with abandon!

Like an artist’s stroke of the brush, you are a Rembrandt or a Van Gogh.

You will never be a copy. You will never be a failure. You will always be a work of art, an interpretation.

How many times in your life have you said to yourself and nobody else, “I can’t do this anymore?”  If you’re still breathing you have asked yourself the question many times.

How many times have you “answered the bell” sucked it up and did what you thought you couldn’t do?

The answer defines you.

It matters little if you can’t do something you are physically incapable, totally unprepared, poorly trained or simply uneducated to do.  What matters is when there is that defining moment.  You can do it.  You’re in the moment.  You have summoned all your strength, including mind and spirit.  And you succeed.  That’s what defines you.

Some might view you as a success.  Others may view you as a failure. What’s vital is how you view yourself?  You will never be a copy. You will never be a failure. You will always be an interpretation.  You decide.

To illustrate I have included a poem I wrote for my dad who has recently passed away, a victim of Alzheimer’s.

 
If I Was An Artist
Father, patriarch, dad
And if I could paint
Mature, senior citizen , old man,
I would paint the portrait of a man
Provider, benefactor, success
Each word to describe him
Contrary, obstinate, cussed
Would be a different stroke from my brush
Non-conformist, contestant, maverick
Each phrase a different shade
Creative, inventive, colorful
From the palette of his life.
Environmentalist, naturalist, crusader
I would present him his portrait
Integrity, honesty, candid
With pride, his life a work of art.

You too are an artist. Paint yourself with abandon!

Broken Hearted

Recently, a dear friend’s mother passed away at 93 years of age.  More than a lifetime, yet only a moment in time.  Where do we go from here?  When the light goes out and the smile fades away of another loved one?

Aged and revered.  Adored and adulated.  Respected and to whatever degree possible, emulated.  You have to wonder how you can replace a legacy, an individual with such an enormous history; with another, a light so bright, here today, gone tomorrow.

In years past, there was the love and dedication to one another that reaches far beyond what has become practice today.  Our sovereign past was punctuated with marriages that endured 30, 40, 50 years and more.  When I say endured, I mean marriages suffered financial hardships far greater than we face today, unborn children, children suffering physical and mental handicaps and many other maladies we no longer face today.

Today, marriage is commonplace if not convenient.  The slightest hiccup is grounds for divorce.

Today, whether by a barrage of socio-economic altered DNA or as I would prefer to define it, our progeny are spoiled, people no longer live for one another, unless it is better suited (in our best interest) to do so.

There is a commitment to convenience.  Principles are defined by rule of law and politics as opposed to personal ethics and spirituality.

Formal education today has schooled us in cynicism and prejudice against a society built on “sweat equity” and capitalist ideals.  Today our future is in hands unsoiled by the earth and unscathed by the tools that built our rails, roads and bridges that made our country great.  God help us.

In the book Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand, a story unfolds about a man, Louis Zamperini, a WWII hero who endured (there’s that word again), along with thousands of WWII prisoners of war and victims of Japanese imposed terror, torture and genocide, unspeakable crimes against human nature and survived to become a true American hero.  If you read his story you will come to realize, the use of the term “hero” today is used at a whole different level.

The book is a best seller.  People marvel over the fortitude and unrelenting wilfulness of a man to do what’s right in the face of sheer evil.  Louis Zamperini and hundreds of thousands of Americans of his era were doing what they thought was the right things to do.  Let’s hope that spirit of America doesn’t die!

I don’t wish to diminish simple acts of bravery, or people doing the right thing when faced with a choice.  My problem is it has become unexpected and uncommon to do what’s morally and ethically responsible in the face of popular alternative.  And God forbid you’ll get sued!

Now it’s time to get off my soapbox and on my knees.  It’s time to give thanks to God for the bright lights and great minds that will outlive the memories of most.  God rest your soul.

You’re fired!

Donald Trump may have fired and missed on Obama’s birth certificate but he’s dead on when it comes to the billions of taxpayer dollars filling the coffers of our enemies.

US taxpayers have little or no control over the decisions made by our government to spend billions to placate foreign governments with little or no accountability.

It’s time to pull the plug on US taxpayer money to the tune of 3 billion a year going to the Pakistanis.  At the very least its time to hold them
accountable.  Pay for play.  Is that so unreasonable?

Who knows whether the money is going to military operations to defeat Al Qaeda or the Taliban or for personal enrichment, in particular government or military officials responsible for hiding bin Laden.

Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Research Unit at Britain’s University of Bradford, says it is inconceivable that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, the ISI, did not know bin Laden was there. “Is it really believable that this famous guy, [nearly 2 meters tall], moves around and manages to evade the United States for 10 years and the ISI, if we’re to believe that they’re hunting him? I think the answer to that is no,” he said.

Then there’s the question of double-dipping.  Powerful and influential Pakistanis not only control the purse strings, they have figured out how to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

But even if the ISI was aiding certain groups, it was widely assumed it would not protect the world’s most wanted man. However, Shaun Gregory says Osama bin Laden, a Saudi by birth, had powerful backers in his ancestral homeland. “You mustn’t lose sight of the relationship between rich and powerful Saudis and rich and powerful people in Pakistan, including in the military. There’s a whole sort of clandestine network here and relationship here that we simply don’t see in the Western media, that the Saudis give vast amounts of money to Pakistanis for certain things. My understanding is that Raymond Davis, for example, the blood money that was paid for him was paid by the Saudis. I think there’s some very powerful interests in Saudi that wanted to keep bin Laden safe,” he said.

In the case of the Pakistanis a refund of great magnitude is due.  Let’s not pussy foot around,  If Pakistan won’t play our game, there’s always India.  India may be stealing our jobs but they’re not taking American lives!

Let’s just do what’s right.  Go with your gut.  Sometimes it’s just that simple.  No more aid and comfort to the enemy.  Time to reinvest in America!

Eyes wide open… Reflections

picasabackgroundEyes wide open… Reflections
In the darkest hours of the night, when sleep should prevail, without prejudice, without mercy, questions pour into my head.
I lie awake and I wonder…
Have I lived well enough to make many friends and fewer enemies?
Do I have the courage to cherish my friends and to vanquish my enemies?
Have I spread enough smiles?
Have I shared enough hugs?
Have I planted enough kisses?
Have I caused enough laughter to earn reciprocity?
Have I studied enough history?
Have I been engaged enough in current affairs?
Have I earned a degree in knowledge?
Is knowledge a benefit?
Is knowledge the revelation of truths, or is knowledge the realizations of falsehoods?
Have I learned from every victory and every folly?
If so, am I a benefactor; more important, am I a teacher?
Today, in this world that reports the past in real time;
I see images of life, in real time, how can I relate?
In time to worry for our future.
Have I focused long enough on the anguished faces, I cannot truly see?
Have I listened hard enough to the desperate voices, I truly cannot hear?
Have I seen enough of their pain, I truly cannot feel?
Have I felt their hunger, I cannot feed?
Have I shared in their grief, I cannot quell?
Have I touched enough people?
Has cuddling become a lost art?
If you learn my darkest secret, will you forgive me?
Will I forgive myself?
Did I stop smoking soon enough to live forever?
How much double churned ice cream is too much?
Will I die and when?
Will it be too soon!  Of course!
Would I fight for my life to the very end?
Out of fear?
Out of courage; for you?
Will I let go?
Can I fall away?
Will you miss me if I’m gone?
Will you miss me when you are alone?
Will you miss me when you are amongst friends.
Will you still be laughing and smiling?
And for how long?
Don’t tell me.
My dog is asleep at my feet.
He has all the answers.
He won’t say, but I finally get it.
It’s not about me.
So now, I can close my eyes…

I’m the “Real McCoy” – How About You?

A real stimulus – Lower Taxes on Small Businesses – Published by The St. Petersburg Times Letter to the Editor, February 8th, 2009

The Real McCoy can survive and prosper under the McCain plan for small business, especially with regard to taxes and healthcare.  Real McCoy hopes to grow business by a minimum of 35% this year, with a goal of 200%, which would include a significant gain in employment, significantly more than big business.

Lonely at the top!

The Real McCoy’s approach is the purest form of Capitalism you can imagine.  And what does one or twenty years in business teach a Real McCoy?  If you are truly the Real McCoy of small business, it is all about grow or die.  Odd as it may seem, it is the exact opposite of government!

Taxes – A typical small business like Real’s is self-funded.  Real might have a loan from Real’s folks, a 2nd mortgage on the house and, with luck, a small line of credit from a local bank.  So McCoy’s business needs to earn Real income to cash flow and grow.  Any tax increases will hurt McCoy’s ability to sustain and grow our business.  Obama’s plan is to tax the wealthy individual, but he forgot about the Real McCoy.  Increasing taxes on McCoy’s small business that earns $200,000 is not spreading the wealth around.  Real McCoy must spread the wealth around to keep loyal employees who will help Real sustain and grow Real’s business.  Like Real, small business owners spread the wealth to middle-income and lower-income earners that depend on Real.  So it is about Real people and Real jobs, not government.

The Real McCoy’s chosen to reinvest most of the “after tax” profits in the business.  This comes in the form of Real employment, including Real competitive salaries, Real payroll taxes, Real benefits to include medical, dental and a Real top-notch wellness program that includes a Real company owned gym.  Plus McCoy has invested in state-of-the-art technology for every Real employee.  McCoy has a flexible work from home program to save on foreign oil and improve Real people’s attitude, a “Real Go Green program and Real Town Hall meetings.

Both parties tout plans to help small businesses.  Obama’s tax credits to small businesses under 50 employees must go to the employee.  Over 50 employees your taxed up to 7% of payroll and with all the reporting required for businesses, we’ll get stuck with the paperwork, which would bury me or I’d have to hire someone to do it for me.   What if you have 51, 52, 53 maybe 60 employees?  You’d have to let them go or pay a significant penalty.  Maybe look for more independent contractors, and more games to be played…

Tax credits to hire new employees for small business from Obama falls way short.  McCoy’s business typically will invest $75-100,000 in the first year on a new employee, which includes salary, payroll taxes and benefits.  Obama’s tax credits are designed to help unskilled labor get a job at McDonald’s or maybe Starbucks, not small business seeking skilled workers to help them grow.

The Real McCoy needs skilled labor.  McCoy knows they need 6-12 months to train even the most skilled worker for him or her to become productive.  That means a Real large investment, even to employ one skilled worker.  The Real McCoy can’t afford to pay taxes on $200,000, not entitlements that far fall short of helping Real small business grow.

Obama gives big business the same tax credits as small business, plus lower-income workers will get additional breaks and entitlements from Obama’s plan.  This allows big business to pay unskilled labor less.  Bottom line, no government subsidy will replace a tax cut for small business.   Subsidies always come with a price.  More paperwork, more bureaucracy, more pork, more fraud, more government…

Why is no one talking about McCain’s plan to leave capital gains tax alone?  Unlike Obama, who wants to increase capital gains tax.  Obama doesn’t think we can make a buck in this market, so who cares!  McCain would actually like to lower capital gains tax.

Why is no one talking about Letting businesses expense technology and equipment in the same year they buy it?  Under the current expensing provision, companies can write off half their equipment outlays in the first year and must depreciate other costs over a longer period.

Healthcare – The Real McCoy can’t increase his prices 35 – 60% to his customers like the major insurance carriers can.  National healthcare plans, such as Medicare and Medicaid are responsible in part, greed on the part of healthcare industry is responsible in part and fraud follows close behind.  Healthcare providers, nurses and doctors are Real people and get a pass.   The healthcare industry needs to let Real people work out a plan (like the plan proposed by the AMA) that offers individual choice and fair market competition which far outweighs any other social issue simply because we are  in survival mode, something big government does not understand.

Both candidates healthcare plans benefit and cover large numbers of uninsured people.  Obama’s 2 million less.  Source http://www.hsinetwork.com/

McCain’s plan costs $287 billion annually, around $165 billion less than Obama and reduces uninsured by 27.5 million.

Obama’s plan costs $452 billion plus annually and reduces the uninsured by 25.5 million.  One of the reasons for the added cost, Obama’s plan does not discriminate against illegal immigrants, who will be entitled to coverage under his national Healthcare plan.

McCain does not tax businesses who do not offer health care.  Employees who are not offered insurance by their employers will get a tax credit.

Obama’s claim that McCain taxes those insured under his plan is essentially bogus, as employees getting insurance from their employers continue to get pre-tax benefits and if the spend less than the tax credits get a refund.  For example, there’s a plan for single females, over 40, from a large insurance carrier for as little as $200 per month.

Obama’s National Healthcare Plan takes the responsibility out of the hands of the people to make their own decisions about the quality and cost of healthcare.  That’s opposite of the current H.S.A. savings plan the Real McCoy offers as a lower cost alternative.

McCain’s plan will offer a tax credit to individuals which allows the individual to choose between plans makes the choices.  Imagine the competitive pressure on insurers, health care providers, especially pharmaceutical companies (especially when McCain allows us to buy across the border) and health care equipment and supply vendors. Affordable, quality healthcare can only happen if there is individual choice.

If Obama wins this election, look for the Real McCoy’s of this world to end up the Real Minority and end up on the endangered species list.  Take away the incentive to make money, the American dream and our freedoms will be compromised and eventually disappear.  Obama’s plan for big government will become a self-fulfilling prophecy, except we will no longer be the big government calling the shots.  Try China.  Try being pro-choice when your only choice is boy or girl!  Just one.

Kim Tran, an American Success Story

Kim Tran

Kim Tran has come a long way.  Perhaps farther than most people, over 12,000 circuitous miles from Saigon to the US, settling in the Tampa Bay area; and further than most IT professionals, from a seven (7) year old Vietnam refugee to a Team Leader; a highly respected and valuable technical support representative with over 9 years of service at Integra Business Systems.

When most children her age were contemplating Kindergarten, Kim’s life lessons were forever altered when South Vietnamese President Duong Van Minh delivered an unconditional surrender to the Communists in the early hours of April 30, 1975. The few remaining Americans evacuated Saigon.

There are all kinds of connotations surrounding the term “boat people”.  Here at Integra, when we think of “boat people” they are personified in Kim Tran.  She’s a person with an easy smile and an even easier laugh, albeit more of a shy giggle.   We at Integra are fortunate to have our very own refugee (survivor) of an era of trauma and suffering that once was the aftermath of the Vietnam War.

KIm Tran - Upper Right with Family in Cho Lon

Many people think of Vietnamese refugees, as only those who were fleeing the country in 1975 as the Americans left Vietnam.  In fact, a large number of refugees “boat people” didn’t flee Vietnam until the late 1970’s when China decided to invade Vietnam.

The Chinese began financing the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as a counterweight to the Vietnamese communists at this time.  The Khmer Rouge launched ferocious raids into Vietnam in 1975–1978.  Vietnam responded with an invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge.  The conflict between Vietnam and Cambodia escalated in 1978.  In response, China invaded Vietnam in 1979. The two countries fought a brief border war, known as the Third Indochina War or the Sino-Vietnamese War.

The short but bloody border war with China a year later resulted in a deliberate policy to encourage the departure of ethnic Chinese(Hoa) from Vietnam.  From 1978 to 1979, some 450,000 Hoa left Vietnam by boat as refugees or were expelled across the land border with China.

In the late 1970s the Socialist Republic of Vietnam took increasingly drastic action to transform the capitalist economy of the south into a socialist one and the Hoa in Vietnam were disproportionately affected, leading to the first wave of ‘boat people’, fleeing the Vietnamese communists, primarily from the South, beginning in April 1978.

Cho Lon (Saigon's Chinatown)

Kim was a seven (7) year old and a victim of circumstance.  Beginning in 1975, the Hoa bore the brunt of socialist transformation in the South (Vietnam).  An announcement on March 24 outlawed all wholesale trade and large business activities, which forced around 30,000 businesses to close down overnight followed up by another that, banned all private trade. Further government policies forced former owners to become farmers in the countryside or join the armed forces and fight at the Vietnam-Cambodia border and confiscated all old and foreign currencies, as well as any Vietnamese currency in excess of the US value of $250 for urban households and $150 by rural households. While such measures were targeted at all bourgeois elements, such measures hurt thec Hoa the hardest and resulted in the takeover of Hoa properties in and around major cities.  Hoa communities offered widespread resistance and clashes left the streets of Cho Lon full of corpses.  These measures, combined with external tensions stemming from Vietnam’s dispute with Cambodia and China in 1978 and 1979 caused an exodus, a majority of the Hoa, many who fled overland into the province of Guangxi, China, from the North and the remainder fled by boat from the South.  Sadly, officials estimated that nearly one-third of these “boat people” perished at sea from starvation, drowning, and pirates, problems that increased when some Asian countries began turning away boat people.  By the end of 1980, the majority of the Hoa had fled from Vietnam.

This is the story of one of the survivors, one of the Chinese refugees “boat people” from the South and her family; our very own Kim Tran.  Kim Tran, a Team Leader and Technical Support Representative for Integra Business Systems, Inc. since June, 2001 will be celebrating her 10 year anniversary with Integra next year.

In her own words…

“Like many other immigrants after the fall of the South Vietnam or Saigon, my family and I had fled from our country in search of a better life.   My name is Kim H Tran.  What I am about to share is my recollections of my family’s escape from Vietnam.  This is my first time ever that I have written about this.  The event started when I was about 7 years old.

My family was financially well off before we left Vietnam.  We lived in downtown Saigon Cho Lon (Big Market), Vietnam.   I remembered after the war in 1975, many lives, including my family’s, changed forever.  The communist soldiers seized and captured what they deemed to be theirs, which was everything valuable…  Then they posted soldiers at each house and business 24/7.  We had two soldiers posted in front of our home.   Their job was to monitor everyone and every activity.  Large businesses shut down and migrated to other cities. Many families lost family members to the communist’s cause, either by choice or by involuntarily draft.  Saigon was no longer an energized and vibrant city.  It was  replaced by turmoil and confusion.  After the war, my family’s schooling was interrupted.  I remembered being sent away to our plantation in Long Khanh,  for several months then rotated to a factory in My Tho, in another city, for several more months.   My grandmother didn’t want to retain anyone who might attract attention to our home and businesses.  As a consequence, those who cared for my siblings and I (our caretakers) were let go except one, Anh.  Anh was presented as one of the sibling in my family to the soldiers.  
 
One day in 1978, I was awokened by my mom.  I was told to be quiet and get dressed.  She gave me 2 sets of clothing and I was told to wear them both.  I was instructed not to bring any of my personal belongings.  Once my younger brothers were dressed, we were led  by someone to the river.  My grandmother, mom, 4 younger brothers and several other people and I got into the small canoe. 

 The oarsman took us all along the river, which led to the open channel. 

Vietnamese canoe owners were paid to transport passensgers to fishing boats.

As we approached daybreak, two patrolling soldiers in a canoe came from the opening of the channel traveling in the opposite direction of our canoe.  They asked the oarsman, where we were headed.  The oarsman replied, “To a wedding across the way.”  I forgot to mention, we had a passenger pretending to be a bride in our canoe.  The soldier inspected the canoe and passengers and we were allowed to proceed on our way.  As their canoe disappeared, the oarsman and several other people began to row toward the ocean as fast as they could.

There was a planned rendezvous with a larger boat.  We finally reached the bigger boat, all of us were rushed onto the boat and we proceeded quickly below to the engine room.  And it was there that my mom, my younger brothers, several other people and myself stayed for days and nights.  We had neither food nor drink.  I couldn’t tell if it was night or day just darkness all around me.  One day, I was awakened by a soft voice calling my name.  I could barely open my eyes due to fatigue.  As I struggled to open my eyes, I saw a bright light crack open and slowly got wider.  I saw a small arm passing a cup toward my way.  I tried to raise my arms to grab it but my arms felt too heavy.

Someone close to me grabbed it and passed it to me.  First sip, I couldn’t tell what I was drinking.  It tasted lemony but salty and smelled funny.  I pass it back but someone encourage me to drink a little bit more to quench my thirst.  I replied I can’t drink, it tasted so bad.  A soft voice told me, yes but tried anyway.  I took another small sip and passed it along to someone else.  That was the first time, I saw a glimpse of daylight since my family and I boarded the boat.  It seemed like an eternity in the darkness. 

Vietnamese Fishing Boat #23 used by “boat people” in mass exodus.

Later that day, the light shined through from the same opening.  People were allowed to come up on deck to get fresh air.  One after another, people rushed to get out of the pit, as I called it.  My brothers, mom, and I weren’t able to reach. My mom was carrying my youngest brother; he was just a toddler then.  Someone jumped down from on top and took us kids up one by one and lifted us onto the deck. 

I got my first breath; the fresh open air filled my lung so quickly that it hurt.  I felt a boost of energy.  We were then allowed to stay above, seemingly safe from danger.  I looked out onto the ocean and as far as my eyes could see, all that surrounded us was the deep, dark ocean.  No birds or land in site.

As evening came, someone yelled out to get everyone below.  Once more, we were rushed down into the dark, smelly, pit of hell.  Everyone was told to keep silent.   A lady sitting next to me was pregnant and had a toddler.  The toddler wasn’t feeling well and started to cry.  Up above the deck, someone hushed us and told us all to keep the kids quiet.  This lady had to quiet her child by using her hand to cover her toddler’s mouth.  She held her child close to her body.  It seemed like hours.  The engine grew louder as it strained for more power.  The smell of engine oil burning became even stronger and almost unbearable.  The boat rocked violently from side to side with such force that people were thrown one on top of another. 

Soon I heard voices but I couldn’t recognize what was being said.   I heard a lot of commotion above me, but I couldn’t see anything but darkness.  Someone opened the hatch from where we were hiding below and spoke out.  I still couldn’t understand what that person was saying.  Another voice said, “It’s OK, come on up.”  People slowly climbed out one by one, all of them frightened.  When it was my turn, I remember a pair of large arms grabbed me and pulled me up.  I was passed to another person.  I must have blacked out. 

When I came to, I was on a big ship.  Later I learned it was a World Vision missionary ship.  People were talking strange, I couldn’t understand word.  I found myself wearing a strange think woven sheet around me.  Someone passed me some French biscuits (cookies).  I received several shots in the arm.  They directed me to follow the crowd towards our boat.  There was more turmoil back and forth from those on our boat with those on the ship.  Women from our boat started crying, which led us kids to also cry.  In the end, unwillingly, we had no choice but to board our smaller boat.  The ship departed but followed us for a time.  Morning came and evening came.  We felt lost and abandoned.  The rescue ship long since disappeared.   As our boat traveled on the open ocean, seemingly aimless, I saw wood planks floating very close to our boat.  First there was one, then another and then even more.  People started to worry.  Then the captain on our boat yelled out, “I see land ahead.”   The mood on our boat changed from one of doom to one of relief.  The boat grounded.  Those who could got off the boat and assisted the others to shore.  They carried women and children on their backs.  Once on dry land, I rememebered looking back and watching the boat sink into the sea.  We were stranded.

Kim has recently celebrated her 10th anniversary at Integra Business Systems, Inc.

To be continued… see Part Two

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Breakdown

Idea Capitalist:

The author hits on the fact the vocal minority on both sides of an important issue brands the silent majority as the villain. Great read!

Originally posted on First Truth:

After reading Judith Shulevitz’s op-ed in the New York Times entitled “In College and Hiding From Scary Ideas”, I was relieved that someone finally broke through the echo chamber that is plaguing both American society and its academic institutions. We’re beyond the looking glass when it comes to discourse and the free exchange of ideas in an effort to promote “conversation”, especially within colleges. It’s one thing to request that an idea be handled with delicacy; it’s another to demand wholesale deletion of thought. The latter is rife throughout higher education and this silence hurts even more that sticks and stones ever will. 

Ms. Shulevitz’s article features a concentration of examples that predominantly feature liberal, “elite” colleges, drawing fire from critics that her words are an exaggeration of what’s really going on. It’s absolutely true that any example of college kids allegedly “hiding from scary ideas” is not indicative of…

View original 659 more words

Is Barack Obama a communist? I don’t know. But here are six things I do know.

Idea Capitalist:

Two more years of communist rule.

Originally posted on Dan from Squirrel Hill's Blog:

1) The Obama administration spent $1.6 million to restore graffiti that glorified communist murderers Che Guevara and Fidel Castro.

View original 646 more words

Government Logic

Who's on First?

Who’s on First?

Email titled “Understanding unemployment” from Author Unknown

COSTELLO: I  want to talk about the unemployment rate in America .

ABBOTT: Good Subject.  Terrible Times. It’s 7.8%.

COSTELLO:  That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No,  that’s 14.7%.

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT:  7.8% Unemployed.

COSTELLO:  Right 7.8% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 14.7%.

COSTELLO:  Okay, so it’s 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that’s 7.8%.

COSTELLO:  WAIT A MINUTE.  Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

ABBOTT: 7.8%  are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If  you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No,  Congress said you can’t count the “Out of  Work” as the unemployed.  You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!

ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO:   What point?

ABBOTT:  Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT:  Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment  just goes down because you don’t look for work?

ABBOTT:   Absolutely it goes down. That’s how it gets to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%.

COSTELLO:  Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO:   Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT:   Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if  you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT:  Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for  work.

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an economist.

COSTELLO: I  don’t even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a politician.

 

Here are 1,000 well sourced examples of Obama’s lying, lawbreaking, corruption, cronyism, hypocrisy, waste, etc.

Originally posted on Dan from Squirrel Hill's Blog:

By Dan from Squirrel Hill

Posted on August 15, 2013. Updated on March 2, 2015.

As the author of this blog post, I place it into the public domain. Anyone may freely copy it in any part or in its entirely, without asking my permission, and without paying any money. I do ask you please cite a link to http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-252/

I ask you to please show this list to as many people as possible – and especially, to please show it to as many Obama supporters as possible. Sunshine really is the best disinfectant. I can’t stop Obama from doing any of these horrible things, but I can tell people about what he is doing. So please share this list with others on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Thank you. The short link for this is http://tinyurl.com/ku9vxug

Every President, every politician, and every human being tells lies and engages in acts of…

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ISIS, ISIL, FU

ISIS Beheads Cigarette Smokers: Islamic State Deems Smoking 'Slow Suicide' Under Sharia Law - IBT

ISIS Beheads Cigarette Smokers: Islamic State Deems Smoking ‘Slow Suicide’ Under Sharia Law – IBT

ISIS, ISIL, FU

There’s enough tears to go around.

There’s enough hate to abound.

Soon we’ll have boots on the ground.

What’s already real is up in the air.

We can’t stop the scorn,

You won’t weather the storm.

We can’t tolerate the act.

That’s a Politifact.

Truth is we don’t care anymore.

What’s right, what’s wrong, there’s the door.

You signed up for this mess.

ISIS, ISIL, FU. No forgiveness.

Bring a shovel, dig your grave, then confess.

Tomorrow’s headlines are already read.

You’re dead.

The End

Temperature Adjustments Transform Arctic Climate History

Idea Capitalist:

Climategate II. This is NASA scientists we are talking about altering data to push the climate change cause!

Summary: Altogether, out of the stations currently operational and with records since 1940, and located in Greenland, Iceland, northern Norway, Russia and Siberia (for the latter three, above 65N), there are 19 stations that have been adjusted this way to produce an artificial warming trend, and only 4 stations that have been un-adjusted. No stations at all have been adjusted the other way. Can these temperature adjustments possibly be justified? It seems barely credible, given that so many have been altered. The normal logic of adjustment is that one station is an outlier, and needs to be homogenized back to the “pack”. Clearly the pack in this case have been altered. In Iceland, for instance, all four stations have been substantially adjusted.

Originally posted on NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT:

By Paul Homewood

The Arctic Ice Melting

We are told that the biggest sign of “climate change” is the rapidly warming Arctic, even called the World’s thermometer, proof that global warming cannot have stopped.

Certainly, the evidence of this from GISS is persuasive.

image

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/nmaps.cgi?sat=4&sst=3&type=anoms&mean_gen=1212&year1=2014&year2=2014&base1=1951&base2=1980&radius=1200&pol=pol

Yet it is well established that the Arctic warmed up rapidly during the 1930’s and 40’s, before temperatures plunged in the 1960’s and 70’s. James Hansen, himself, recognised this, as the graph below from his 1987 paper Global Trends of Measured Surface Air Temperature ,  showed.

image

http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1987/1987_Hansen_Lebedeff_1.pdf

So how much is what we have been seeing in recent years just part of that cycle? How much warmer is the Arctic now than it was 80 years ago?

Quite a lot, according to GISS.

image

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata_v3/ZonAnn.Ts+dSST.txt

But can we trust their figures? We saw previously how the temperature history for Paraguay, and a large slice of the surrounding region, had been altered…

View original 1,256 more words

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