Monday, June 15, 2009

Public Pimp or Public Servant?

With the voices of cherubs they speak with forked tongues
Passing bills for cleaner air with carcinogens in their lungs
They take the oath to serve injecting a standard that’s double
And when people act to point it out they are stepping in
Trouble, trouble
There is no leading by example, its do as I say, not as I do
We the people are on the hill and it doesn’t include you
It matters not from where they come, east, west, north or south
They all went to the same school of
University Talk out of both sides of Your Mouth
Crisis after crisis, pushing unread bills into law
While the stockholders of America are now invested in
Fatal flaw after fatal flaw
Taxpayer, taxpayer
Put your brains away,
We know what is best for you
And how to run your day
From your children to your business, even to your health
Assimilate and submit while we distribute your wealth
And for the things you should not know we have czars for that
Accountable to no one except the highest cat
Public pimps on a mission putting money in their pockets
My rights they’re swindling, my accounts are dwindling,
And blood is shooting out of my sockets
The politicians are hypnotized and poisoned by the smell of blood and power
Feeling they should have control over even the breaths I take per hour
How far will they take us on this ride down the drain
I wanted my children to grow up riding the freedom train
Instead land of the free, home of the brave the socialist-progressives have a new conversion
Land of the free lunch, home of the slave, better known as political perversion
Public servant has new meaning as the strategy of semantics takes hold
Everything is changing and we the public servants just do as we are told
Rise up all you people to save our great land
Give meaning to our soldiers service as their blood stains the sand
There is no apology for the price of freedom it all comes with a cost
Rise up all you people before our land is lost.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Great American Makeover: The Anatomy of the Takeover

The Great American Makeover: The Anatomy of the Takeover

The Death of Capitalism: Only a Crisis Will Do

A hostile takeover is apparent to all involved, marked by antagonism and an unwillingness to participate or facilitate “the change”. However, the boiling frog theory is a vulpine method whereby turning up the heat in small increments becomes so unnoticeable that before anyone notices, the frog is boiled. Likewise, I assert a “smoke and mirrors theory” whereby anything can be changed quickly without resistance when a constant crisis is in effect to distract everyone from seeing what is going on behind the scenes.

There is a new global economy that has emerged from the historical foundation of what was once considered the basis for business and value. Today “value can be created or destroyed without any transactions, and intangible assets have suddenly become very important to valuation” (Boulton et. al., 2000, p. 1). Taxpayers are the shareholders of America and as of late our stock values have plummeted. It can be argued that “assets combine, recombine, and interact in infinite ways to create or destroy economic value” and with “human genetics as an analogy, we can think of assets as the components of the “business genome”, or the “value code”- the economic DNA of an enterprise” that economists and strategists must unlock to discover the code of value creation (Boulton et. al., 2000, p. 2). Looking at capital structure and how to best maximize the overall value of America Inc. for the taxpayers/stockholders, one needs to question the debt to equity ratios. The debt continues to climb as equitable values fall. There is a gross imbalance thereby devaluing the “corporation”. Who then wants to invest in such a corporation where there seems to be no end to the devaluation? Even a contrarian investor would see that the long-term horizon for such an investment would not be realized even by their great grandchildren.

The Strategy of Semantics

What if I decreed that “garbage” could no longer be called garbage. Garbage must be called “contingency waste products”. Does this change the hard facts that garbage is still garbage? Would garbage gain an enhanced image if I called it contingency waste products? Would garbage be less offensive if I called it contingency waste products? Would more people embrace their garbage and be less offended if it were now called contingency waste products as opposed to garbage? By changing the names of such things as war, does not inherently make the manifested acts any different, likewise terrorists are not perpetrators of “man-made disasters”. It is still war, they are still terrorists, just as garbage will always be garbage no matter what you choose to call it.

What is happening to the intellectual integrity of our society? The assault on our values that have stood for hundreds of years is being bulldozed by political demolitionists and the “New America” is being built by the biggest government body ever assembled in the biggest power grab ever attempted. Meanwhile, citizens that voted for this “change” seem to be reclining in their LazyBoys with remote firmly in hand watching mindless television to further gelatinize their brain while the government performs full frontal lobotomies on those who protest.
Who is really in control and what is this grand strategy being implemented? Much of what can be seen appears to unfold moment by moment without a real plan except to tear down the things that have made this country great. Thoughts to words to strategy to execution: there are apparent gaps in these constructs amidst the current administration. Closing Gitmo, which has been a successful “housing operation”, seems on the surface a simple task, but what is the exact plan on HOW you do this? How do you propose an act without having a strategy to successfully implement this action? Where do you then successfully and safely house these “people”, so that no person is offended if they are labeled by the actions they have “allegedly” committed? How do you create national healthcare without increasing taxes? How does national healthcare place any power and control of individual health in the hands of anyone except government bureaucrats that deem you are too old, sickly, or expensive to “fix”. It seems that certain corporate entities are “too big” to fail but the individuals that make up our society as a whole that run these entities are “to small” to matter.

Bankruptcy and Not Bailouts: Look to Organizational Theory

Population ecology theory “seeks to explain the factors that affect the rate at which new organizations are born (and die) in a population of existing organizations” (Jones, 2007, p. 330). According to this theory, “the rate of birth in a new environment increases rapidly at first and then tapers off as resources become less plentiful and competition increases” (Jones, 2007, p. 331). “Hannan & Freeman believe that long-term change in the diversity of organizational forms within a population occurs through selection rather than adaptation. Most organizations have structural inertia that hinders adaptation when the environment changes. Those organizations that become incompatible with the environment are eventually replaced through competition with new organizations better suited to external demands” (Hannan and Freeman, 1989, p. 27).

Leadership and Followership

To better understand leadership one must look at it “not just as an interaction, but more holistically, as a function of capabilities possessed and deployed by the individual leader” (Brown & Moshavi, 2005). Leadership is intangible “it exists only in relationships and in the imagination and perception of the engaged parties” (Bolman & Deal, 2003). Kouzes and Posner (2004) found that followers bestow the title of leader to those that they are freely willing to follow; those who possess honesty, are forward-looking, competent, and inspiring. These four traits combined are tantamount to credibility, the foundation of leadership.

“Extensive research has shown that leaders who exhibit positive leadership behaviors – such as intellectual stimulation, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, and idealized influence – achieve greater employee performance, effort, satisfaction, and organizational effectiveness” (Barbuto & Burback 2006). Effective leadership is said to be a combination of the match between the leader and the leadership situation (Nahavandi, 2002). The biggest challenge for effective leaders is to bring out the best in others.

Darwin states “it’s not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change” (Day & Schoemaker, 2006). There is no single leadership model that proves to be the most effective or the most successful, but a combination of styles, models and techniques that will provide the tools to meet present and future issues and challenges. It will be the skill, flexibility, knowledge and intuition of the leader to then craft the most appropriate situational response to the environmental indicators and human factors. Brilliant strategy and meticulous execution is required in the face of every environmental challenge, if success is to be realized and perpetuated. Execution must be part of an organization’s strategy and goals, and must be within the skill-set of every leader. “It is the missing link between aspirations and results” and “leadership without the discipline of execution is incomplete and ineffective” (Bossidy, Charan, & Burck, 2003, p. 495).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Obama presidency: Here comes socialism By Dick Morris

2009-2010 will rank with 1913-14, 1933-36, 1964-65 and 1981-82 as years that will permanently change our government, politics and lives. Just as the stars were aligned for Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and Reagan, they are aligned for Obama. Simply put, we enter his administration as free-enterprise, market-dominated, laissez-faire America. We will shortly become like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, or Sweden — a socialist democracy in which the government dominates the economy, determines private-sector priorities and offers a vastly expanded range of services to many more people at much higher taxes.

Obama will accomplish his agenda of “reform” under the rubric of “recovery.” Using the electoral mandate bestowed on a Democratic Congress by restless voters and the economic power given his administration by terrified Americans, he will change our country fundamentally in the name of lifting the depression. His stimulus packages won’t do much to shorten the downturn — although they will make it less painful — but they will do a great deal to change our nation.
In implementing his agenda, Barack Obama will emulate the example of Franklin D. Roosevelt. (Not the liberal mythology of the New Deal, but the actuality of what it accomplished.) When FDR took office, he was enormously successful in averting a total collapse of the banking system and the economy. But his New Deal measures only succeeded in lowering the unemployment rate from 23 percent in 1933, when he took office, to 13 percent in the summer of 1937. It never went lower. And his policies of over-regulation generated such business uncertainty that they triggered a second-term recession. Unemployment in 1938 rose to 17 percent and, in 1940, on the verge of the war-driven recovery, stood at 15 percent. (These data and the real story of Hoover’s and Roosevelt’s missteps, uncolored by ideology, are available in The Forgotten Man by Amity Shlaes, copyright 2007.)

But in the name of a largely unsuccessful effort to end the Depression, Roosevelt passed crucial and permanent reforms that have dominated our lives ever since, including Social Security, the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission, unionization under the Wagner Act, the federal minimum wage and a host of other fundamental changes.

Obama’s record will be similar, although less wise and more destructive. He will begin by passing every program for which liberals have lusted for decades, from alternative-energy sources to school renovations, infrastructure repairs and technology enhancements. These are all good programs, but they normally would be stretched out for years. But freed of any constraint on the deficit — indeed, empowered by a mandate to raise it as high as possible — Obama will do them all rather quickly.

But it is not his spending that will transform our political system, it is his tax and welfare policies. In the name of short-term stimulus, he will give every American family (who makes less than $200,000) a welfare check of $1,000 euphemistically called a refundable tax credit. And he will so sharply cut taxes on the middle class and the poor that the number of Americans who pay no federal income tax will rise from the current one-third of all households to more than half. In the process, he will create a permanent electoral majority that does not pay taxes, but counts on ever-expanding welfare checks from the government. The dependency on the dole, formerly limited in pre-Clinton days to 14 million women and children on Aid to Families with Dependent Children, will now grow to a clear majority of the American population.

Will he raise taxes? Why should he? With a congressional mandate to run the deficit up as high as need be, there is no reason to raise taxes now and risk aggravating the depression. Instead, Obama will follow the opposite of the Reagan strategy. Reagan cut taxes and increased the deficit so that liberals could not increase spending. Obama will raise spending and increase the deficit so that conservatives cannot cut taxes. And, when the economy is restored, he will raise taxes with impunity, since the only people who will have to pay them would be rich Republicans.
In the name of stabilizing the banking system, Obama will nationalize it. Using Troubled Asset Relief Program funds to write generous checks to needy financial institutions, his administration will demand preferred stock in exchange. Preferred stock gets dividends before common stockholders do. With the massive debt these companies will owe to the government, they will only be able to afford dividends for preferred stockholders — the government, not private investors. So who will buy common stock? And the government will demand that its bills be paid before any profits that might materialize are reinvested in the financial institution, so how will the value of the stocks ever grow? Devoid of private investors, these institutions will fall ever more under government control.

Obama will begin the process by limiting executive compensation. Then he will urge restructuring and lowering of home mortgages in danger of default (as the feds have already done with Citibank).

Then will come guidance on the loans to make and government instructions on the types of enterprises to favor. God grant that some Blagojevich type is not in charge of the program, using his power to line his pockets. The United States will find itself with an economic system comparable to that of Japan, where the all-powerful bureaucracy at MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) manages the economy, often making mistakes like giving mainframe computers priority over the development of laptops.

But it is the healthcare system that will experience the most dramatic and traumatic of changes. The current debate between erecting a Medicare-like governmental single payer or channeling coverage through private insurance misses the essential point. Without a lot more doctors, nurses, clinics, equipment and hospital beds, health resources will be strained to the breaking point. The people and equipment that now serve 250 million Americans and largely neglect all but the emergency needs of the other 50 million will now have to serve everyone. And, as government imposes ever more Draconian price controls and income limits on doctors, the supply of practitioners and equipment will decline as the demand escalates. Price increases will be out of the question, so the government will impose healthcare rationing, denying the older and sicker among us the care they need and even barring them from paying for it themselves. (Rationing based on income and price will be seen as immoral.)

And Obama will move to change permanently the partisan balance in America. He will move quickly to legalize all those who have been in America for five years, albeit illegally, and to smooth their paths to citizenship and voting. He will weaken border controls in an attempt to hike the Latino vote as high as he can in order to make red states like Texas into blue states like California. By the time he is finished, Latinos and African-Americans will cast a combined 30 percent of the vote. If they go by top-heavy margins for the Democrats, as they did in 2008, it will assure Democratic domination (until they move up the economic ladder and become good Republicans).

And he will enact the check-off card system for determining labor union representation, repealing the secret ballot in union elections. The result will be to raise the proportion of the labor force in unions up to the high teens from the current level of about 12 percent.
Finally, he will use the expansive powers of the Federal Communications Commission to impose “local” control and ownership of radio stations and to impose the “fairness doctrine” on talk radio. The effect will be to drive talk radio to the Internet, fundamentally change its economics, and retard its growth for years hence.

But none of these changes will cure the depression. It will end when the private sector works through the high debt levels that triggered the collapse in the first place. And, then, the large stimulus package deficits will likely lead to rapid inflation, probably necessitating a second recession to cure it.

So Obama’s name will be mud by 2012 and probably by 2010 as well. And the Republican Party will make big gains and regain much of its lost power.

But it will be too late to reverse the socialism of much of the economy, the demographic change in the electorate, the rationing of healthcare by the government, the surge of unionization and the crippling of talk radio.