The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See

Max Bazerman, Author
Max Bazerman, Author

Bazerman helps you how to recognize your own blind spots and how to avoid the habits that lead to poor decisions and ineffective leadership in the first place.

Every one had a negotiation fall apart or had it provide a less positive outcome than hoped for.  Often this is because a critical piece of information and detail was missed or overlooked.  How can you avoid that from happening again?  Should you have noticed?

Max Bazerman, an expert in the field of applied behavioral psychology, draws on three decades of research and his experience instructing Harvard Business School MBAs and corporate executives to teach you how to notice and act on information that may not be immediately obvious. Bazerman suggests you explore your cognitive blind spots, identify any salient details you are programmed to miss, and then take steps to ensure it won’t happen again.

In psychology a blind spot is defined as aspects of our personalities that are hidden from our view.  These might be annoying habits like interrupting or bragging, or they might be deeper fears or desires that are too threatening to acknowledge. One place that blind spots can be found is in strong reactions. An unusually strong negative or positive reaction or stance may suggest an engagement in a process Freud called reaction formation. Reaction formation involves unconsciously transforming an unacceptable or undesirable impulse into its opposite. This tendency is not confined to sexuality. Harsh judgments of others’ behavior may show a personal insecurity – such as, that highly ambitious co-worker may especially irritate you because of your own unexpressed ambitions. Blind spots in these cases need not be objectively negative traits, just traits that are experienced as personally shameful or unacceptable.  Full Article

Simine Vaziere stated in an abstract of her research: “According to the self-other knowledge asymmetry (SOKA) model, the self should be more accurate than others for traits low in observability (e.g., neuroticism), whereas others should be more accurate than the self for traits high in evaluativeness (e.g., intellect). In the present study, 165 participants provided self-ratings and were rated by 4 friends and up to 4 strangers in a round-robin design. Participants then completed a battery of behavioral tests from which criterion measures were derived. Consistent with SOKA model predictions, the self was the best judge of neuroticism-related traits, friends were the best judges of intellect-related traits, and people of all perspectives were equally good at judging extraversion-related traits.”

The great part about the Max Bazerman’s book is that he provides a step-by-step guide to breaking bad habits and spotting the hidden details that will change your decision-making and leadership skills for the better. The key is to learn what a blind spot is and why you are programmed not to notice it.  What is the perceived value to your subconscious?

Additionally, you will learn how to pay attention better not only to what is going on but also to what is “NOT” going on.  Often what is not going on is more illuminating than what is going on. By realizing and acknowledging that both you and the person you are negotiating with come from a place of self-interest — you will be able to identify possible compromises that take both your and the other parties’ interests into consideration.  This helps to close the best possible deal and it will expand your life’s enjoyment as well.

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Celebrate life in a healthy way! Show this to endangered adults and endangered teens

National Overdose Deaths—Number of Deaths from Prescription Drugs. The figure above is a bar chart showing the total number of U.S. overdose deaths involving prescription drugs from 2001 to 2014. The chart is overlayed by a line graph showing the number of deaths by females and males. From 2001 to 2014 there was a 2.8-fold increase in the total number of deaths.

National Overdose Deaths—Number of Deaths from Prescription Opioid Pain Relievers. The figure above is a bar chart showing the total number of U.S. overdose deaths involving opioid pain relievers from 2001 to 2014. The chart is overlayed by a line graph showing the number of deaths by females and males. From 2001 to 2014 there was a 3.4-fold increase in the total number of deaths.

Doctors need to become aware that maybe they are vulnerable to strong man sales techniques.

ProPublica found that doctors nationally who accepted payments from manufacturers were two to three times as likely to prescribe high rates of brand-name drugs. The higher the payments on average, the higher the rate of brand-name prescribing.

The NYT in an article by Dr. Arias, who is preparing a larger study of mortality trends over the past 15 years, said drug overdoses, liver disease and suicide were the main drivers of the gloomy trends among whites in recent years, a pattern also found by other researchers. Life expectancy for whites had been rising for decades, but it has stagnated in recent years. It inched up in 2010 and 2011, and was flat in 2012 and 2013. But new federal data, drawn from all deaths recorded in the country in 2014, showed that life expectancy for whites dropped to 78.8 years in 2014

Particularly Oxycontin has caused addiction which often leads to abuse of Heroin. It is a deadly drug.

Unless you are already dying from an incurable cancer, there is really no reason to take a drug that can cause you to become a drug addict.  As a dying person it is okay only because you are going to die anyway.   Before even considering taking an opioid make sure you internalize the consequences for short-term relief.

Side Effects and Warning for Oxycontin

Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Do not crush or break an extended-release Oxycontin tablet. Swallow it whole to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal dose.

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OxyContin is be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Take this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Never share the medicine with another person. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC PAIN MEDICATION CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant. Oxycodone may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has taken this medicine during pregnancy.

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Enjoy the holidays and stay safe!

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GOP who stopped Obama from releasing Russian cyber attacks. How they will respond to the Trump and Putin alliance will determine the future or demise of the free world.

World Peace in the hands of Tillerson?
World Peace in the hands of Tillerson?

“The sanctions are targeted, not sectoral, and will have a very limited impact,” said Thomas Wright, a fellow and director of the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institute. “This will not deter Putin from interfering in French or German elections in 2017.”

Thomas Wright also suggests that:  “Trump is opposed to America’s alliance arrangements, he is opposed to the open global economy, and he is pro-authoritarian and pro-Russian.  That it is pretty clear this is the most important election anywhere in the world since the two German elections of 1932,” he wrote, in reference to the parliamentary elections that ultimately resulted in Adolf Hitler coming to power. “No other election has had the capacity to completely overturn the international order—the global economy, geopolitics, etc.”

In the Atlantic Monthly article Thomas Wright further explains: “Trump’s isolationist ideology has three components, according to Wright: 1) opposition to U.S. alliances; 2) opposition to free trade; and 3) support for authoritarianism. In Wright’s view, these three beliefs, if translated into policy in a Trump administration, could do away with the liberal international order that the United States helped design after World War II and has led ever since.  Full Article

Thomas Wright explains in a report for the Lowy Institute for International Policy:  “To understand Donald Trump’s foreign policy, we must distinguish between his three core beliefs that he has held for many decades and rarely if ever wavered from, the central themes of his campaign, and other issues. His core beliefs are opposition to America’s alliance arrangements, opposition to free trade, and support for authoritarianism, particularly in Russia. If he is elected president and governs in a manner consistent with these beliefs, the United States will be transformed from the leader of a liberal international order into a rogue superpower that withdraws from its international commitments, undermines the open global economy, and partners with Putin’s Russia.” Full Report

How the GOP responds to the Trump and Putin alliance forged to transform the US into a rogue country that works solely for a few chosen corporation – just like Russia is now – will determine our future and the future of the free world.

Source: Thomas Wright quotes from a variety of sources. For more information feel free to contact him directly at The Brookings Institute

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Cyber Warfare attacks by Russians are happening all over the US

Down the Rabbit Hole we go.
Down the Rabbit Hole we go.
The US Government released a report and recommends that all citizens and companies take pre-cautions.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recommends that network administrators review the IP addresses, file hashes, and Yara signature provided and add the IPs to their watchlist to determine whether malicious activity has been observed within their organizations. The review of network perimeter net flow or firewall logs will assist in determining whether your network has experienced suspicious activity. When reviewing network perimeter logs for the IP addresses, organizations may find numerous instances of these IPs attempting to connect to their systems. Upon reviewing the traffic from these IPs, some traffic may correspond to malicious activity, and some may correspond to legitimate activity. Some traffic that may appear legitimate is actually malicious, such as vulnerability scanning or browsing of legitimate public facing services (e.g., HTTP, HTTPS, FTP). Connections from these IPs may be performing vulnerability scans attempting to identify websites that are vulnerable to cross-site scripting (XSS) or Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attacks. If scanning identified vulnerable sites, attempts to exploit the vulnerabilities may be experienced.

Commit to Cybersecurity Best Practices

A commitment to good cybersecurity and best practices is critical to protecting networks and systems.

Here are some questions you may want to ask your organization to help prevent and mitigate against attacks.

1. Backups: Do we backup all critical information? Are the backups stored offline? Have we tested our ability to revert to backups during an incident?

2. Risk Analysis: Have we conducted a cybersecurity risk analysis of the organization?

3. Staff Training: Have we trained staff on cybersecurity best practices? 4. Vulnerability Scanning & Patching: Have we implemented regular scans of our network and systems and appropriate patching of known system vulnerabilities?

5. Application Whitelisting: Do we allow only approved programs to run on our networks? 6. Incident Response: Do we have an incident response plan and have we practiced it?

7. Business Continuity: Are we able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Have we tested this?

8. Penetration Testing: Have we attempted to hack into our own systems to test the security of our systems and our ability to defend against attacks?

For the full document with more valuable advice:  Click

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Happy Holidays and A Merry Xmas 2016

Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas

Happy Holidays 2016

We have a lot to be thankful for.  We enjoyed eight years of relative peace. Yes, even though the stock market has reached new all-time heights, mostly only the top 25% within the world economy are affected by that. However, during the Obama administrations many people in the middle class and even the impoverished have made small strides.  More

Hope that we can improve our own lives.

The housing crisis and the cost of education problems have not been adequately addressed, but at least everyone knows about it.  People are no longer suffering in silence, all alone. There are amazing new companies who are working hard on addressing it.  For instance the Khan Academy provides assistance for free that literally change people’s lives.  Here is one example of their many Thank You letters the Khan Academy deservedly received.  Robyn, December 4, 2013: “I am currently in high school, trying to get into university for engineering. I just recently started using Khan Academy, and I am already hooked. I just wanted to say that it is truly amazing what you are doing. If there was ever such a thing as a saint: you would be one. Providing the world with easy access to education is something that nations upon nations have failed to do, yet you accomplished starting with just some simple videos available for any one to access. Thank you for restoring my faith in people.”   More

Amazing scientific breakthroughs that will change our future

In 2016, Scientists have tested the world’s first minimally invasive brain-machine interface, designed to control an exoskeleton with the power of thought and gets people with paralysis back on their feet.  More

In 2016, 3D Printing research shows promises for medicine and manufacturing that are mind-boggling.  In the future organs and bone may well be printed from your own tissues and thus move medicine into an entirely different sphere. More

Artificial Intelligence had several major breakthroughs, not least of which is that Google’s AI engine reorganized “itself” to write a better translation system.  And this indicates that AI is here to stay at an entirely different level.  More

Social Trends that bring families together

At the home front things have changed as well.  Now for the first time in since the year of 1880 more children and young adults (18 to 34 year olds) live with their parents than live away from their parents.  More  The economy that squeezes the life-style of most Westerners (75%) financially, combined with the aging of the baby boomers is moving families closer together.

The ever shrinking middle

Yes, the share of the middle class has been shrinking and unless corporate officers start waking up to the fact that a shrinking middle class means a shrinking customer base, this trend will continue for years to come.  More

We enjoy enough food, clean water (most of us, ahem, Flint), a roof over our heads and more of us have our families with us.  Life is good, we can always go online and improve it ourselves.  So now think about all the good things in your life and share them with your family over some cookies.  Merry X-mas or Happy Holidays, whichever you prefer.

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Trump’s austerity programs starts with his musical artist line-up at the inauguration … and his Steve Mnuchin is sure to watch every 27 cents

Trump fan and cover song singer Beau Davidson agrees to entertain at Trump Inauguration
Trump fan and cover song singer Beau Davidson agrees to entertain at Trump Inauguration
Trump proves at inauguration that he is “one of the people.”

The International Business Times:  “A bank established by President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Treasury secretary, Steve Mnuchin, once tried to foreclose on a 90-year-old Florida woman over a $0.27 payment mistake, reported Politico Thursday. Critics in the story allege that OneWest, founded by Mnuchin and partners, took advantage of the 2008 housing collapse by buying out risky loans from mortgage lender IndyMac and, in turn, getting help from Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to cover the costs.”  (full article)

And now they report:  “Democrats are focusing on Mnuchin’s tenure at OneWest, a bank he took over at the height of the financial crisis that has been dubbed a “foreclosure machine” that profited from the real estate collapse. The Wall Street Journal said no Republicans have expressed any opposition to Mnuchin, who likely will be vetted by the Senate Finance Committee. Bloomberg reported Mnuchin, 53, already has met with Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa.”

Clearly this proves that Mnuchin is the best possible person to “Make America Great Again.” Those old ladies don’t need their homes and the value their husbands created while the husbands were still alive can “trickle down” much easier when the Banks repossess the properties, instead of  allowing the survivors to remain in her home until their deaths.  Sure she could have gifted the property to her 40 something year-old grandchildren, who may be able to pay off some of their student loans.  Anyway, a Bankers’ job is to keep as much money as they can and Mnuchin is so worthy of being admired for his “sticky fingers.”  He took a 27 cents error and gained all the equity for the bank from that 97 year old lady’s home. What astounding commitment to business!

Trump is also proving that he is sincere about saving money, by hiring the lounge lizard Beau Davidson, who already has enchanted him at his private estate in Mar-a-Lago, a twenty acre membership club that offers dining, bridge, croquet, tennis, spa and entertainment shows.  If Beau, who looks a little like a man who previously worked for the Chippendales in LA, is good enough for the millionaires and billionaires at Mar-a-Lago, he is good enough for Trump’s inauguration party.  A Choir from Utah will sing as well to bring a type of Christian atmosphere to the celebrations. They will probably do it for (their) god, so it is in the budget.  Surely the Trump children will be there but they will not set up meetings about gaining access. Just like they will do in their non-profit set up for the very purpose they will request that the donors provide proof of funds prior to having a lunch with them where they will hear them out about their concern that they hope their daddy can help them with.  They are absolutely aware of the need to keep up appearances.

Obama meanwhile recently had his last extravaganza at the White House in October 2016.  It was quite amazing and “élite.”  Here you can watch it for yourselves, it was awesome, and the line up shows that Obama has a lot of amazing friends, it was all “Love and Happiness” there.

Trump signals with his celebration that times, are going to focus on the “economy” – kicking out 97 year old ladies from their homes for $0.27 errors in their checks. Trump has drained the swamp and has installed his oligarch friends at every corner. Judging by the celebratory tone of McConnell who forbade the voters to find out about the Russian hacking before the election, Times they are A’Changing. So go home and hug your family and know that you best enjoy your life right now.  Happy Holidays and we’ll see you at the other side.

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Trump’s drains the swamp of lobbyist for corporations and replaces them with the corporate officers and bankers

Trump and Icahn get an "A" for honesty
Trump and Icahn get an “A” for honesty
Icahn and Trump are well known for expressing their feelings and opinions without filters.

Bravo?   They are not politically correct and that is what their voters wanted, right?

It is obvious for people in the know to see what attracts them to each other. They are both single-mindedly focused on their own profit. They are both honest about it and have a devil make care attitude.  They are completely unapologetic about any trails of victims they may leave in their wake.  They are bullies and they are honest about it.  If they can get away with something they not only will try the practically must try.  They love the “Game of Business.”   Trump promised to get rid of lobbyists and by golly he sure seems to keep his promise.  Instead of having lobbyists who want who appeal to Congress to create lenient laws that allow for more profit for the 1%.  They indeed get rid of the lobbyists and replace them with the 1%.  What a practical idea.  The Trump voters must be so very pleased.  Trump is keeping his promise to drain the swamp of middle men.  The swamp of government is now honestly run by and for the corporations and venture capital firms and banks, and the 1% who have paid for everything anyway.  The honesty that Trump brings to government is laudable indeed.  No more pretense.  Just making sure that the hyper-wealthy get what they need and want more efficiently and faster than ever.

Just one thought. We know that these old men don’t care about the future because in the future they are most likely dead.  They are old and they will die and this is one last fling before they go.  But what about the 40, 30, 20, 10 year olds in the world?

A world that run by people who lack humanity typically erodes healthy middle class.  The old men may not care, but without a middle class you have no stability.  If we look at countries who lost their middle class we are always looking at war.  Trump wants to spend a $1 Trillion dollars on improving the nuclear arsenal – without even getting intelligence briefings.   We wonder what Mnuchin, Gingrich, Tillerson, and Icahn think about that?  We hope to find out soon what vision these creators of the new gilded age have in mind for the US and the world. Hopefully they have a vision that goes beyond their own bank accounts.

Hillary Clinton is gone and many agree that her loss was due to due to a confluence of factors and successful efforts to sabotage her campaign. People just didn’t like her very much.  The FBI didn’t like her, Putin didn’t like her, the Public didn’t like her, even Democrats didn’t like her, her campaign staff fought about her, and the media certainly didn’t like her. She was a hard worker, but people didn’t warm up to her.  The warmed up to Trump.  They were amused by Trump.  No one was amused by Hillary, not even SNL. Her portrayal was often nasty and a bit weird. Trump’s portrayal was that of an all familiar American Uncle, reminiscent of Rob Reiner’s politically incorrect TV dad in the show “All in the Family.”

Not many people really know Hillary as she keeps very private and opens up to very few people, many of whom are also intensely private. The acclaimed and award-winning Investigative Reporter for the New York Times and The Washington Post, Ronald Kessler, sheds light on how she how Hillary Clinton was perceived by the service details who spent much time with her. It could explain why the Secret Service seemed so adamant that she ought not be president unless it was unavoidable:   Why the West was Lost – First Family Detail

Whatever we may think about Trump at least he is honest about being corrupt. Maybe that is a step forward?  Or, perhaps we will have Trump, the politically incorrect man and his politically incorrect friends run the country into the ground – honestly.

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Another Media Company bites the dust… another one down, another one down.

Huffington Post now committed to attracts News audiences.
Huffington Post now committed to attracts Fox News audiences.
Huffington Post under Verizon Board’s management now targets media toward Fox News Audiences

Today the Huffington Post had a live Facebook interview with Linda McMahon of Worldwide Wrestling Fame.  It seems confusing to people who used to think that the Huffington Post was a “liberal” media that reported on culture and politics.  It greatly delighted the new audiences of “Winners who are making America Great Again” through their vote for the Trump administration. This pivot toward the middle class and investors and the Democratic Party mistakenly calls the working class is understandable when you read AOL’s mission.  Code the company is all about code – measuring audiences, gaining audiences, redirecting audiences and undoubtedly listening in to audiences every move.  The CEO of Verizon was in charge of NSA’s largest listening program. Naturally, the number of people must expand, and the editorial has to be low brow indeed.

But why is that confusing?  If you keep up with the news, AOL purchased the Huffington Post years ago for $350,000,000 dollars.  Currently AOL serves 500,000,000 people globally.  AOL’s  mission, according to their website, is:

"We live in a time when culture defines code and code defines culture. Code is about the evolution of technology, the natural force of human ingenuity that moves culture forward. Culture is about the content experiences that make technology meaningful, enhancing our lives both online and off.  Culture + Code is our North Star — the philosophy that guides the way we organize, run and grow our business."

AOL has always been part of the world in which ethics don’t necessarily mean as much as earnings.  AOL started as a services provider that overcharged people. They still owe me close to $700 that were deducted from my Bank Account automatically.  I only could stop the monthly theft them by closing the Bank Account, back in 1996.

Then later they fancied themselves a “Unicorn” and “bought Time Inc.” during a time when every other media company paid millions for small tech companies, like AOL.  AOL purchased Time Inc. for $162 Billion, but allowed them to keep their name and their board of directors, and most of their managers. Only one of my very good techie media friends and I thought it was funny when they fell for that brilliant Time Inc. move. Most people were very impressed.  Needless to say, my funny friend and I, thought it was equally funny when AOL was spun out again from the company they had “bought.”

Their first success was more a matter of being at the right place at the right time and squeezing money out of their customers with vastly overpriced product offerings and illegally taking money that was not theirs. I still want my close to $700 dollars back, that AOL deducted from my bank account for several months after I cancelled their overpriced service.

After they were spun out from Time Inc. they went through a lot of reiterations and finally were led by a very good CEO, Tim Armstrong. Before joining the “Cable Business and Telecom” Industry he used to be a formidable media / new media guy.  Tim spent almost a decade at Google, where he served as President of Google’s Americas Operations and Senior Vice President of Google Inc. as well as serving on the company’s global operating committee. Tim started in his career by co-founding a newspaper in Boston, MA before moving into the Internet industry, where he has worked as a team member, investor or co-founder at many companies, including Starwave (sold to Disney / ESPN / ABC Internet Ventures), Snowball (IPO), Associated Content (sold to Yahoo), and Patch (sold to AOL). Tim has also been an active investor in the start-up community, both on and offline.

Tim Armstrong is smart, hard-working and has vision.  Living in the world where he is undoubtedly in a bit of a creative straight jacket, reporting to military, telecom and “healthcare” executives must be hard sometimes. He is channeling his “good man” energies by supporting an amazing amount of causes. He works with a Charter school, the United States Olympic & Paralympic Foundation, IAB Education Foundation, and more. Tim was honored by the Ad Council with their 60th Annual Public Service Award in 2013. The past few years must have challenged him, despite the amazing financial success he brought to his investors.  Buy-outs are always challenging.

He reported to a board that consisted a few old media execs and large corporate advertisers (Knight Ridder and PepsiCo, etc.) and of Eve Burton, a lawyer who grew her chops at Hearst Corporations and perhaps more importantly at a legal firm called Weil, which has extensive experience working with international media and entertainment companies and investors in transactions as diverse as mergers and acquisitions and related financings, cross-border transactions, spin-offs, IPOs, intellectual property licensing and counseling, royalty, debt and equity offerings, and restructurings. Their experience encompasses all areas of global media, publishing and telecommunications in matters of industry-wide significance. Their media and entertainment transactional practice involves particularly close collaboration among our M&A and Private Equity, Capital Markets and Technology & IP Transactions practices.

Essentially Weil attorneys are a team of globally connected mercenaries who wrote the book on Restructuring, Chapter 11, Buy Outs, with an army 1100 lawyers strong and an alumni group that stretches into 150 government agencies, financial sector, etc.  Weil is an amazingly knowledgeable firm that helps private equity investors make the most of their money and assists families keep their money while dancing knowledgeably around the laws, often having their Alumni’s create the laws.  Ms. Burton surely had a lot to do with the sale to Verizon since Weil advised Verizon on the $4.4 billion dollar buy-out.  What ana amazing return of investment.  Under Tim Armstrong’s leadership AOL grew quite a bit. Weil also has a prominent white-collar defense unit.

In 2012 the rest of the board of AOL consisted of actual media executives and officers in large corporations who were typically very large advertisers. Now he reports to a telecom based intelligence firm.

Down the Rabbit Hole we go.
Down the Rabbit Hole we go.

Verizon is run by an ex Naval Officer, Lowell C. McAdam, who most likely oversaw the creation of one of the most in-depth surveillance program for the NSA, initially at Pacific Telesis under the Bush Administration, and eventually via AirTouch, under the Obama Administration.   Other members of the board include:

Karl-Ludwig Kley, a German Industrialist, who held leading positions at Merck, E-On, Deutsche Bank, Bertelsmann, and now Lufthansa.  Martha Francis Keeth, an attorney who was previously employed as Independent Director by Peabody Energy Corp., Executive Vice President-Chemicals by Royal Dutch Shell Plc, President & Chief Executive Officer by Shell Chemicals Ltd., President & Chief Executive Officer by Shell Chemicals LP, and Chief Accounting Officer & Controller by Mobil Corp.

Shelley Archambeau is Chief Executive Officer of MetricStream, Inc., a leading provider of governance, risk, compliance and quality management solutions to corporations across diverse industries.  Prior to joining MetricStream in 2002, Ms. Archambeau served as Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of Sales for Loudcloud, Inc., Blockbuster, and IBM. Interestingly Loudcloud is told to have been the server provider for the initial NSA surveillance program.

Mr. Mark Bertolini is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Aetna Inc., a Fortune 100 diversified healthcare benefits company.  Prior to assuming the role of Aetna’s CEO in 2010 and Chairman in 2011, Mr. Bertolini served as President from 2007, responsible for all of Aetna’s businesses and operations across the company’s range of healthcare products and related services, and as Executive Vice President and head of Aetna’s regional businesses before that.  He joined Aetna in 2003 as head of Aetna’s Specialty Products after holding executive positions at Cigna, NYLCare Health Plans and SelectCare, Inc.

Mr. Carrión has served for over 20 years as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Popular, Inc., a diversified bank holding company. He also served as a director of NYNEX Corporation, one of Verizon’s predecessor companies, from 1995 to 1997.  Mr. Carrión provides our Board with financial, operational and strategic expertise developed during his long tenure as Chairman and CEO of Popular, Inc. This experience, combined with his board service at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2008 to 2016, also provides our Board with deep risk management expertise.

Verizon’s Executives are teaming with members of GSMA an organization that specializes in “intelligence” gathered about Mobile Customers around the globe.  Data Driven content will play a relatively minor part of the new Bot, AI, and machine learning world. From now on AOL will be all about the Code that holds, influences and tracks a global audience – legally.

So good-bye Huffington Post,and hello “Brave New World” Aldous Huxley Style.

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One day before Russia, Iran and Turkey summit meeting, Ambassador Karlov is murdered.

President Vladimir V. Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would proceed with a natural-gas pipeline under the Black Sea. Credit Emrah Gurel/Associated Press
President Vladimir V. Putin and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would proceed with a natural-gas pipeline under the Black Sea.  Credit Emrah Gurel/Associated Press

Both Mr. Putin and Mr. Erdogan have had recent troubles with Washington.  Putin has been accused of war crimes in Syria for killing hundreds of civilians.  Erdogan is killing Kurds and escalating the conflict, whereas the US is relying on Syrian Kurds to stem the Isis tide.

On December 19, 2016 the Russian Ambassador, Andrei Karlov, was shot and killed as he gave a speech at an embassy-sponsored exhibit in Ankara. Eye-witnesses were reported to have heard eight shots.  The gunman shouted out: ‘‘Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria!’’ referring to the Syrian city where Russian bombardments have helped drive rebels from areas they had occupied for years during the war.  He also shouted ‘‘Allahu akbar,’’ the Arabic phrase for ‘‘God is great’’ and continued in Arabic: ‘‘We are the descendants of those who supported the Prophet Muhammad, for jihad.’’  The attacker also smashed several of the framed photos hung for the exhibition and an additional three people were injured during the attack.

‘We consider this to have been a terrorist attack,’’ Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. ‘‘Terrorism will not pass. We will fight it decisively.’’

The attack comes a day before a meeting of Russian, Turkish and Iranian foreign and defense ministers in Moscow to discuss Syria. Russia and Iran have backed Syrian President Bashar Assad throughout the nearly six-year conflict, while Turkey has supported Assad’s foes. The Kremlin suggested Turkey, Russia and Iran should come together for a solution, initially over Aleppo, but which could also be enlarged to include other parts of Syria, Reuters quoted a Turkish official as saying.

Melih Gokcek, the mayor for Ankara, told reporters outside the exhibition center that the ‘‘heinous’’ attack aimed to disrupt newly-re-established relations between Turkey and Russia.

Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have co-sponsored the evacuation of civilians and rebels from Aleppo and also discussed the prospect of organizing a new round of peace talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana. Now this incident threatens to derail the evacuations of civilians from Aleppo.

The last time a diplomat was killed in Turkey was in an attack in 1971. Israel’s consul-general to Istanbul, Efraim Elrom. Until recently Turkey has been considered a relatively safe place for diplomats. This streak has been broken after the assassination of Ambassador Karlov, however, in view of the fact that the Erdogan administration is entirely dependent on Russian energy, relations will continue among the governments.  Recent instability in Turkey and the fact that it is dangerous to be there has severely curtailed the tourist trade. Revenue from tourism fell by 32.7 percent to $8.28 billion in the third quarter of the year.

Despite the death of the Russian’ Diplomate we expect Putin to continue to guide Erdogan’s foreign policy.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been characterized as increasingly undemocratic marked by attacks on freedom of expression. Despite outlawing competitive political parties, and a declining economy, he seems popular among the rural undereducated Turks. Turkey will stay in close collaboration with Russia for many years to come, despite their “hot-headed” relationship. Erdoğan is completely dependent on Russia for natural gas. Over the past 30 years the imports of natural gas from Russia into Turkey have nearly doubled. After Germany, Turkey is Russia’s second-largest natural gas client in Europe.

Gas Consumption in Turkey, Natural Gas World
Gas imports into Turkey, Natural Gas World

According to Natural Gas World: “After the European Union’s stance about competition on Russia and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Russia declared its intention to diversify its demand route by creating a new direct pipeline that runs through Turkish territory. The construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline was first discussed between Gazprom and BOTAS in December 2014. With an annual capacity of 63 billion m3, this pipeline will replace the South Stream, since the construction was suspended over the European Union’s stance about competition. According to initial plans, the Turkish Stream will extend from Russia, through Turkey and stop at the Greek border, giving Russia access to the southern European market. 14 billion m3 natural gas was planned to be consumed in Turkey.” (full article)

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Birth of a new historic era for Russia and Japan

Putin and Abe meet about Japan / Russia Relationships
Putin and Abe meet about Japan / Russia Relationships
Japan and Russia’s world leader meeting promises to foster close European-Asian economic and cultural ties.

Putin announces in a press release through his TASS new agency that the meeting Abe was a great success:

“Russia and Japan signed more than 60 various deals in which Japan will invest over $2.5 billion during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the country, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported citing a senior Japanese government official.  Abe said he and Putin had agreed the two countries have “unlimited opportunities for development of relations in all areas in case of common effort.”

The talks between the officials reiterated their commitment to continue discussions about economic cooperation on the four Kuril islands that both countries claim.  However Russia will still call the shots.  According to Peter Shelakhaev, the head of the Russian Far East Investment and Export Agency, Japan is expected to pay taxes and fees for any money earned on the four islands that are in dispute since the end of the war.

After World War II in 1945 Russia seized four Japanese islands as they call it the “spoils of war.”  Japan has tried to have these islands returned ever since then. Now Abe and several of his Russia-Japan Relations experts have decided that after 60 years of occupation it is time to accept reality with a new perspective.

Nobuo Shimotomai, Russia-Japan expert at Hosei University in Tokyo, recommended: “Getting the four islands back was a Cold War slogan for the Japanese, but after 60 years, we need a new approach towards Moscow. It could be some kind of shared sovereignty.”
Trans-Siberian Railroad courtesy Daily Mail
Trans-Siberian Railroad courtesy Daily Mail (full article)
Economic, Scientific and Cultural ties will be supported by the Trans-Siberian Railroad

The Japan Times informs that the areas of cooperation between Russia and Japan will include the fields of the countries’ health ministries in the fields of medicine and health care; expanded cooperation on development and production in the energy sector, including oil and gas; cooperation on the peaceful use of nuclear power; cooperation in promoting diversity and raising productivity in Russian industry; cooperation in promoting industry in the Russian Far East and turning it into a base for exports to the Asia-Pacific; Cooperation in the fields of information and communications and postal services; Enhanced cooperation in agriculture and fisheries; Cooperation between the countries’ patent offices on industrial property rights; and hygiene standards for Russian livestock farms exporting products to Japan. (full article)

This is one of the most expansive cooperation between Russia and Japan since the 19th Century.  One of the most life changing and culturally interesting developments is that Russia agreed to expand the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Japan. If both countries follow through, these new agreements will usher a new historic era that will impact the world economy and political landscape for many decades to come.

 

 

 

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Death of our Democracy: The Carolinas show us how right wing tendencies will ruin us unless we stop their March toward a Dictatorship.

The Picture of a Racist
The Picture of a Racist

“Somebody had to do it,” Roof said of the slayings. He added that “black people are killing white people everyday… What I did is so minuscule compared to what they do to white people every day.”  He researched Charleston, scouted the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and then acted alone. Yes this time there is a guilty verdict by the jury of the avowed white supremacist, Dylann Roof, on his federal hate crimes on 33 charges of federal hate crimes resulting in death, obstruction of religion and firearms violations.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, Pat McCrory, a renowned right-wing GOP governor rolls back laws and passes laws that will prevent his democratic follower from ruling the state.  The Right Wing agenda is to wall in and to fortify their absolute power legally.  He and his fellow lawmakers, who control the General Assembly, introduced measures to end the governor’s control over election board’s requiring State Senate approval of any new governor’s cabinet members and to strip his power to appoint University of North Carolina trustees.  This is right-wing agenda in action to ease their white supremacist agenda.  If you can’t strip the people of their right to vote, we all know they tried.

A press release in November 2016 states:

"NCGOP leaders will discuss final Get Out The Vote efforts and encouraging Republican gains in final Early Voting numbers when compared to 2012. Republicans historically vote in far greater numbers on Election Day itself, these great strides in Early Voting when compared to 2012 show evidence of underestimated statewide ground game and deep volunteer base. Chairman Robin Hayes: “I am encouraged by the excitement and work ethic of our volunteers and the numbers don't lie—the Republican ground game is showing that motivated statewide volunteers and extensive ground game are better indicators of electoral success than the number of candidate-specific offices one has.

Despite this effort and one before to change local laws that the federal court deemed illegal, North Carolina GOP Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the 2013 voter-ID law which a federal court rolled back this year for illegally suppressing African-American votes, claimed in November 2016 that massive voter fraud in his state swung the 2016 election against him, as McCrory’s campaign continues to challenge Democrat Roy Cooper’s thin lead two weeks after Election Day.

The example of voter suppression is right here.  Despite that it is perfectly legal to vote if you are temporarily absent.  If a piece of mail with an out-of-state address is not returned before the vote that vote does not qualify.  If there is another person with the same or similar name at an out-of-state address on Facebook, your vote no longer counts in North Carolina.  If you put your vote into the voting box, instead of giving it to a racist woman who deems you as rude, your vote no longer counts.  If there is a dead person of the same name in another county, your vote no longer counts. Check out this real document with these types of feeble attempts to change the voting results.

Now despite this arduous effort to control and influence the North Carolina voting results, the Democrat Roy Cooper won the election as governor.  Now the White Supremacist Offensive goes on the full on offensive.  The current General Assembly held an emergency meeting and stripped Governor Rye Copper of the powers to govern.  It affects and takes away his ability to govern the State Board of Elections, State Ethics Commission, State Board of Education and the regulation functions of the Secretary of State, and the choice to appoint the head of the Industrial Commission.  It is a well-known fact that the Koch Brothers aim to make North Carolina a model state of the private takeover of a government.

Rep. Nelson Dollar, a Republican from Cary, disputed the portrayal by opponents of the GOP strategy to cut the governor’s authority as a “coup.”  It is a coup and it is only the first of many in States that have a strong element of white supremacists.

We can learn a lot from North Carolina about how a Democracy can be demolished with a few strokes of the pen by white supremacist lawmakers.  Perhaps it is high time to read  For Whom the Bell Tolls again.

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Several right-wing investment bankers who hope to take over America will find it doesn’t work

Car Manufacturing Plan in 1939
Car Manufacturing Plan in 1939

The Investment Bankers, Energy Industry Execs and Politicians have always marched in lock step.  These days the “old guard” is fighting the “new guard” and while it is obvious to many that the “new guard” is winning, the old guard is going through a “fight to the death” thingy.  In a recent interview between Ezra Klein the CEO of Stripes, Patrick Collison, stated that the US Election was kind of a Primal Scream for the old guard.

It is unfortunate the older infrastructure companies are fighting innovation so much, despite the fact that it and always has been the best way to strengthen a society.  It doesn’t have to be that way.  But old men, especially old men who grew up wealthy and thought they would always be in charge, be the captain of their ship, their city, their country and yes, the world, they just have a hard time understanding that the Industrial Era is over.  Kaputt. Finished.  So to say. The factories and the financiers that brought their grandfathers such amazing wealth, so much wealth that they are still spending that money today, have been moved to countries that have a more affordable life style to allow people to “live off” menial labor.

Car Manufacturing Plant in 2016
Car Manufacturing Plant in 2016
Neither Change nor Letting Go is easy

All the posturing will not change the fact that this change from manual labor to robots guided by computers with fabulous microchips and brilliant software has happened.  Anger about it will not roll back time.  The old men who used their daddy’s and granddaddy’s money, which sometimes was earned by bankrolling energy deals to fund the enemy during wars, like the Scaife Mellon Money, or building Factories for Hitler like the Koch Brothers are not willing to bend their will to meet the needs of the middle classes nor the environment. Full Article

Despite dubious histories, some people adapted and learned, like young Ford.  His granddad helped Hitler set up car manufacturing in Germany, but he decided to work with the American people and for the people.  Ford was the only America Automaker firm that didn’t really need to be bailed out by the Obama administration.  Full Article

Corporate Social Responsibility is in and it is good for business

Apple, Google and Microsoft are part of the top 10 global firms and they are in the top 15 of Corporate Social Responsibility ranking as per Forbes.  Why is it that companies that have a higher level of Corporate Social Responsibility grow faster and better than companies in older industries where they lost the entrepreneurial spirit decline?

Psychological Mindset of the Wealthy

Why are the children of these very wealthy people so intent on damaging society by pushing their personal philosophies on them? The Scaife, DeVos, Koch Brothers?  Is it because they have low self-esteem?  Do they not feel loved by their fathers or mothers?   Most likely that is indeed the cause according to a detailed article written by Suniya Luthar, of Columbia University, published in the PMC :

Children of affluence are generally presumed to be at low risk. However, recent studies have suggested problems in several domains—notably, substance use, anxiety, and depression—and 2 sets of potential causes: pressures to achieve and isolation from parents. Recognizing the limited awareness of these issues, the objectives in this paper are to collate evidence on the nature of problems among the wealthy and their likely causes. The first half of the paper is focused on disturbances among affluent children and the second half is focused on characteristics of their families and neighborhoods. Widespread negative sentiments toward the rich are then discussed, and the paper concludes with suggestions for future work with families at the upper end of the socioeconomic spectrum. PMC

Maybe they are trying to make up for their guilt on how their parents obtain their staggering wealth and are trying to make it okay by vehemently agreeing that they are inspired by god, thinking that only they are meant to have access to the tree of knowledge, and only they have a right to decide who lives or dies. Just like their grand parents.

Superpowers need Bankers, Oil Barons and Industrialists

Christopher Higham, a British Author of History book, explained in Trading with the Enemy:

"Here is the extraordinary true story of the American businessmen and government officials who dealt with the Nazis for profit or through conviction throughout the Second World War: Ford. Standard Oil, Chase Bank and members of the State Department were among those who shared in the spoils. Meticulously documented and dispassionately told, this is an alarming story. At its centre is 'The Fraternity', an influential international group associated with the Rockefeller or Morgan banks and linked by the ideology of Business as Usual.

Higham starts with an account of the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland - a Nazi-controlled bank presided over by an American, Thomas H. McKittrick, even in 1944. While Americans were dying in the war, McKittrick sat down with his German, Japanese, Italian, British and American executive staff to discuss the gold bars that had been sent to the Bank earlier that year by the Nazi government for use by its leaders after the war. This was gold that had been looted from the banks of Austria, Belgium, and Czechoslovakia or melted down from teeth fillings, eyeglass frames, and wedding rings of millions of murdered Jews.
In the Past Oil-based fuels determined who ruled the sky and who could be a Superpower
As a highly developed industrial state, Germany was dependent even in peacetime on external sources for an adequate supply of oil. Even though Germany’s 1938 oil consumption of little more than 44 million barrels was considerably less than Great Britain’s 76 million barrels, Russia’s 183 million barrels, and the one billion barrels used by the United States, in wartime Germany’s needs for an adequate supply of liquid fuel would be absolutely essential for successful military operations on the ground and, even more so, in the air. For Germany, it was precisely the outbreak of the war in 1939 and the concurrent termination of overseas imports that most endangered its ability to conduct mobile warfare. Full Article
The Koch Empire

In the past old industrialists who ruled with wealth and provided access to large amount of money were in charge.  The onset of the digital age changed that power and clearly infuriated the old guard.

In 2004 the Koch Brothers founded and funded Americans for Prosperity, a right-wing political advocacy group and by 2009 it become a political powerhouse which funded and launched the Tea Party.  The brothers have a very strong and ideological commitment to world domination.  Their father was in construction and built a major oil refinery in Nazi Germany which was approved by directly Adolf Hitler in person.  While the Koch Brothers make a half-hearted attempt to deny this, there is a rather detailed book by Jane Meyer Dark Money.  And Hitler himself wanted to try Mellon Bank for Treason for going back on some of their promises toward the end of the war. Ironically it was one of the Mellons who negotiated a deal with the Allies that American Companies should not loose all their assets in Germany, but instead Germany should be bailed out.  Clearly this banker had a lot of pull with the US, UK and French governments.

Their new effort to “take over the world” perhaps rooted in the principles with which they were raised by their successful and highly disciplined father have prepared them.  According to the Center for Public Integrity, Americans for Prosperity spent a $122 million as it unsuccessfully attempted to defeat President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats in 2012.  $83 million was spent on communications, ads, and media.  Clearly the Koch Brothers commitment to spend money to influence Americans has rapidly increased since their humble beginnings in 2004.

In a Mother Jones article we find that the Koch Brothers’ meddling with the US Government, Education, the Election, Health Care has grown to an over $400 Million dollar endeavor.

While bankers, corporations and politicians are necessarily tied with each other, it will be a good idea for us to watch carefully, regularly and attentively who is meddling in unison.   Trump’s appointment of the CEO of Exxon, Betsy DeVos, the wife of Eric Prince, to the Department of Education, the appointment of an admitted Neo Nazi, Steve Bannon, combined with Michael Flynn’s relationship with Putin is of grave concern.

In the end this effort to overthrow the democracy will not work since the new economy and the American people are going to deal with this challenge successfully. No one will succeed in selling America out to the Russians, Chinese or any other aspiring super power.

 

 

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First Republic Bank Acquires Gradifi to refinance Student Loans

First Republic Bank's Motto is that it is a privilege to serve their customers.
First Republic Bank’s Motto is that it is a privilege to serve their customers.

First Republic Bank (NYSE:FRC), today announced it has acquired Gradifi Inc., a Boston-based student loan repayment technology platform to assist the nation’s 44 million student loan borrowers.

Gradifi pioneered the SLP PlanTM (Student Loan Paydown), a technology and service platform used by employers to make direct contributions to employees’ student loans, reducing their overall repayment time and lowering the total cost of the loan. This employee benefit is becoming increasingly popular among employers to help attract and retain key talent, particularly Millennials who are now the largest generation in the workforce and are uniquely burdened by student debt. Gradifi operates a very user-friendly and secure online platform to handle such benefit programs.

Gradifi serves many employer clients from small businesses to PricewaterhouseCoopers, Natixis Global Asset Management, and Penguin Random House.

“We completely support Gradifi’s mission in assisting with the country’s student loan challenge,” said Jim Herbert, Chairman and CEO of First Republic Bank.  “They have become a market leader with their outstanding team, innovative repayment programs, and state-of-the-art technology.  As education costs and student loan debt continue to rise, offering a student loan repayment benefit for employees is increasingly valuable. Companies are realizing the power of a student loan repayment assistance benefit for both recruiting and retaining employees. As such, Gradifi has a terrific opportunity to assist companies and their employees.”

First Republic is committed to helping individuals and families manage student debt through both innovative refinance and repayment solutions. Earlier this year, First Republic implemented a student loan repayment assistance benefit for its employees, utilizing the Gradifi platform. The response has been overwhelmingly positive from employees, and First Republic has since increased the value of the benefit even further.

“First Republic is the perfect partner to help Gradifi meet the growing demand for our student loan repayment solutions,” said Gradifi Founder and CEO Tim DeMello.  “In addition to its commitment to help manage student debt, First Republic’s focus on extraordinary client service aligns with our approach.  With client satisfaction ratings that are on par with the world’s most respected brands, First Republic has the commitment to service and entrepreneurial culture, plus the financial resources, to power our growth strategy.”

Gradifi, a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Republic Bank, will continue to operate under the Gradifi brand.  Founder Tim DeMello will remain the company’s Chief Executive Officer, with extended employment contracts in place for him and several other senior management members.  As part of this acquisition, Gradifi will remain headquartered in Boston and have employees based in New York, Los Angeles, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

The transaction was funded by First Republic Bank with cash on hand.  Impact to earnings or capital is currently not material, and further terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.  Greenhill & Co. served as financial advisor to First Republic on the transaction.

First Republic Honored for Addressing Income Inequality

“NAAC is pleased to honor First Republic and Rosana Han for thinking outside the box in addressing income and wealth inequality,” said NAAC Executive Director Faith Bautista. “First Republic cares for the underserved community. Working in partnership with the NAAC and National Diversity Coalition, First Republic has helped expand home ownership in areas where no bank will make loans.  First Republic has also been instrumental in supporting micro businesses and nonprofits, such as NAAC.”

First Republic is different than most banks

The business model at First Republic is distinctly different from most other companies. While they certainly want to grow and make a profit, they also realize that the best way to do that is through hard work and exceptional client service. Because of this operating philosophy, they are driven by a core set of values that define what they must do every day to best serve th clients.

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A wonderful Holiday Gift Idea. Health, the gift that keeps on giving.

Fitness and Health by TenReps.com expert James Griffin
Fitness and Health by TenReps.com expert James Griffing
The gift of virtual and online coaching by Mr. Kansas himself, now known as Mr. Ten Reps.

As the holiday approach instead of staring in the mirror wondering how to keep off the 6 pounds we usually gain, consider this.  Train and consult with Coach Griffing who is known as the most qualified fitness expert in the Bay Area. He now offers his training over skype or facebook messenger phone to you no matter where you live. Or, if you live in the East Bay (Walnut Creek) you can visit the gyms in which his offers his training in person.

He prescribes the most effective program for specific goals and current level of fitness. James avoids gimmicky workouts or unnecessarily painful and ineffective exercises.  He creates a custom program of proven exercises designed to specific training goals.  As we progress he redesigns the program to meet new needs based on the new capabilities. Everything is scaled to the level of conditioning and evolved at the rate of progress achieved. James is well known for his compassion and supportive attitude.

Choose a personal coach who is highly qualified

Griffing earned both a bachelors degree in Exercise Science and a Masters degree in Kinesiology from Kansas State University. At Kansas State University, he instructed ‘Practicum In Fitness Settings’ (KIN520) for 3.5 years (7 semesters); training, and supervising Exercise Science Students in both community and corporate fitness settings.

Griffing is also the author and founder of ExRx.net, a free web resource for exercise professionals and fitness enthusiasts since 1999. Many professional organizations have endorsed ExRx.net including leading certifying organization, medical groups, and universities. Wyle Laboratories consulted with Griffing when they were contracted to upgrade the NASA Astronaut Fitness Manual. His resources have also been used by NYPD, US Dept. of Defense, and The Army Physical Fitness Research Institute and many ladies and men here in the Bay Area.

Why not check out www.tenreps.com and give a subscription of consulting session to yourself or to someone you love.

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Jim Dennis Photography Studio Holiday Art Silent Auction Party – Sunday December 18, 2016

Jim Dennis invites you to his Annual Holiday Sales at Jim Dennis Photography
Jim Dennis invites you to his Annual Holiday Sales at Jim Dennis Photography
Jim Dennis studied under Ruth Bernard, the master of light and shades

As a young boy Jim Dennis was discovered by Ruth Bernard, the world famous photography who belonged to a young group of photographers that included Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.  He had the good fortune of training with her at a young age.  The way he uses shadows and light is reminiscent of these masters.

Come visit the gallery, shop for wonderful gifts of classic art and join up with other Art Collectors and Jim Dennis admirers for a celebration of the Holiday Season and the Beaux Arts.

When:  Sunday December 18, 2016 from 2PM - 8PM

Where: Jim Dennis Photography Studio and Gallery
       4300 Horton St, Emeryville, CA 94608
       (510) 595-8634

www.jimdennisphotography.com

Jim Dennis is a world renowned Bay Area Photographer whose work has spanned over thirty years, with exhibits 
at a variety of artful venues across the nation including: 
Kodak Gallery, New York, New York,
 Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois
, The Oakland Museum, Oakland, California. 
Jim Dennis, a native of San Francisco recognized at an early age that he was visually oriented and 
was excited to discover that he could capture on film, elements that provoked thought and stirred emotion.

Jim Dennis Interview with an historic overview of many of his art pieces.

Jim Dennis loves music and enjoys to portray musicians.  He has an amazing collection of photos of classic musicians, including Miles Davis, Lou Rawls, Pete Escovedo, Sarah Vaughn, Sheila E. and many more.  He has photos of famous politicians and famous people including Willie Brown Jr., Barbara Lee, Dalai Lama, Princess Christina and too many to mention.

Stanley Jordan, Rolando Morales, Ranie Smith and Lloyd Gregory
Stanley Jordan, Rolando Morales, Ranie Smith and Lloyd Gregory

As a young staff photographer with Eastman Kodak, Dennis photographed people and places across the world:
the Taj Mahal in India; life in Morocco; cultural portraits in Turkey. He also photographed the Indy 500 and Grand Prix Races, a cattle round-up in Wyoming and the Ringling Bros. Circus, Barnum, and Bailey Circus. His personal extensive travels have provided him with opportunities to capture exciting photographic images in such places as Haiti, Mexico, the Caribbean, Hawaii, France, Italy, Britain, the Bahamas, Brazil, Costa Rica and the Ivory Coast.

Jim Dennis’ technical skills in photography were honed at Eastman Kodak where he collaborated with engineers 
developing state-of-the-art photographic equipment and products. He regularly attends professional development seminars and workshops to stay abreast of new developments in the photography world and has taught technical skills in photography to students at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco. Additionally, he studied with the famed San Francisco photographer Ruth Bernhard in developing his creative skills.

In addition to his personal clients, present corporate clients include: Pacific Bell, Pacific Gas and Electric, American Airlines, San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, East Bay AIDS Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, City and County of San Francisco, San Francisco Unified School District, City of Oakland, Oakland Unified School District, Walter Katz Foundation, World Savings Bank, KTVU-Channel 2, Highland Hospital and the Port of Oakland.

Come visit the gallery, shop for wonderful gifts of classic art and join up with other Art Collectors and Jim Dennis admirers for a celebration of the Holiday Season and the Beaux Arts.

When:  Sunday December 18, 2016 from 2PM - 8PM

Where: Jim Dennis Photography Studio and Gallery
       4300 Horton St, Emeryville, CA 94608
       (510) 595-8634

www.jimdennisphotography.com
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Making America Great Again by starting a trade war with China and Latin America?

Mexicans bringing in the harvest
Mexicans bringing in the harvest

Trump’s website declares:  “Mr. Trump will stop China from stealing our jobs, renegotiate NAFTA, cut unneeded regulations and make America the best place in the world to do business and hire workers. Putting America First — and not globalism — will keep jobs and wealth in America.”

The Obama Whitehouse website explains:  “The rules-based international economic system has helped to propel China’s unprecedented economic growth over the past 35 years, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.  The United States has also benefited from the emergence of a global middle class that, by 2030, is projected to include more than 3 billion consumers in Asia alone. U.S. exports of goods and services supported approximately 12 million jobs in the United States in 2014.  China has a strong stake in the maintenance and further strengthening and modernization of global financial institutions, and the United States welcomes China’s growing contributions to financing development and infrastructure in Asia and beyond.”  Full Article

 Trump will stop China from “taking” jobs from the US.
Trading Floor in China
Trading Floor in China

China Experts at the Brookings institute let us know that China is now the economic superpower they set out to become in the early 90s.  They hold the world by the proverbial financial purse strings.  Their strategy has been to provide amazingly affordable goods and thus wipe out competition in many countries the world over.  With the money they made they have purchased raw materials and have a corner on several core commodities.  For instance the Wall Street Journal reported that during the first four months in 2016 the trading volume on the Shanghai and Dalian exchanges had more than doubled over the year before.  According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics. Dalian-traded iron and ore futures generated approximately the same dollar volume as gold futures in New York.  Full Article

Trump now is pursuing an extreme protectionist strategy that puts the U.S. commitment to open trade severely in doubt.  There is already the widespread view in China that the United States is withdrawing from the global economy.  China and investors all around the world believe that the US is in decline economically and this is borne out in reality.  The Balance reported in October 2016:  “China’s economy produced $19.5 trillion in 2015 (based on purchasing power parity). It’s the world’s largest economy. The European Unionis second, at $19.1 trillion. The United States fell to third place, producing $17.9 trillion.”  The US produces the value of $56,300 per person per year which is roughly four times as much as China produces with $14,300 per person per year.

China has 1.37 billion people as to compared to 325 Million people in the US. Even though 1 half of the Chinese people live very impoverished lives in the country side, there are over 1 Billion more Chinese than Americans.  That will not change anytime soon.

The Middle Class in China is growing steadily, it is actually a rather small fraction of the Chinese population.  In 2013, China accounted for 35 percent of the world’s total online shopping. By 2018, it is estimated that China’s spending will exceed the rest of the world’s combined, and will account for one in every five yuan spent in China, according to Bloomberg.  This is not because the lifestyle in China is higher than it is in the US, but it is due to the fact that there are so many people. And there are so many unmarried men who can spend all their money to make up for their loneliness, created by the questionable 1 Child Policy the Chinese government had pursued.  There are 33% more men than women in China.  So how does Trump plan to assist American firms to out-maneuver the highly sophisticated and highly educated middle class from China?

So far Trump wants to dismantle our already faltering education system even further.  Most jobs these days require superior math skills and all the tariffs in the world that Trump and his team want to impose on China, will not change the fact that China outperforms the US in math and science skills by a HUGE MARGIN.  The 2012 PISA study shows: “Percentages of top performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at level 5 or above) in mathematics literacy ranged from 55 percent in Shanghai-China. In the United States, 9 percent of 15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above, which was lower than the OECD average of 13 percent.”   China on a percentage basis out performs the US by a margin of 6.  And when you add the fact that China has so 4 times as many people than the US, the US is simply no longer competitive and will not become competitive unless it starts to focus on repairing the education gap.  Tariffs don’t make people more educated.

If the US due to the fact that the current administration is terrible in math, cannot realize that if they add tariffs, Chinese products will get more expensive.  This means that the products US manufacturers produce with Chinese parts will get more expensive.  The end result is that the US manufacturers may loose the few jobs they were able to keep.  The world is a competitive market and all countries compete.  Wishing it were not so will not change that fact.  Even Trump agrees and he purchases his products all around the world and uses the underpaid and unemployed American Consumer as customers while providing the earning capacity to countries who have a better educated workforce.

Americans suffer due to lack of education, due to lack of health care and due to the fact that their hard earned taxes are used in wars all around the world instead of on infrastructure and basic human needs at home. Trump promised he will fix this situation.  He claimed he is the “only one” who can fix it.  So far he brought in DeVos who plans to ruin the rest of the countries education the way she ruined it in Michigan.  He has tasked Paul Ryan with is pet project of robbing the American people of what is left of their Medicare payments, and he wants to abolish Affordable Health Care.
He has empowered Pharma companies to raise their pricing to completely irresponsible levels that surely will end up literally killing the lower income people.  He has brought in more military personnel than any previous administration since the Civil War. We are still waiting for him to provide us with signs that he is intent on following through any any one of his promises.  Making America Great Again?  What does that even mean?   The media never received an answer from him.  Unfortunately we will find out very soon and the damage will last a long time.

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Berthe Morisot, amazing impressionist painter.

Berthe Morisot, The Cradle as exhibited at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.
Berthe Morisot, The Cradle as exhibited at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris.

Berthe Morisot was one of three daughters of the Prefect of Bourges. Her grandfather was the influential Rococo painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Berthe Morisot was born January 14, 1841, in Bourges, France.Berthe and her sister Edna were given art lessons.

Berthe and Edma Morisot traveled to Paris to study and copy works by the Old Masters at the Louvre Museum in the late 1850s under Joseph Guichard. They also studied with landscape painter Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot to learn how to paint outdoor scenes. Berthe Morisot worked with Corot for several years. In 1864, Berthe Morisot exhibited for the first time in the highly esteemed Salon de Paris. Sponsored by the government, and judged by , the Salon was the official, annual exhibition of the Académie des beaux-arts in Paris.

Berthe Morisot and her friendship with Edouard Manet

You know she is great if Edouard Manet admired her painting. Berthe befriended Edouard Manet from 1868 and the two influenced each other’s work.

Manet's famous Painting "Repose" shows us what Berthe looked like.
Manet’s famous Painting “Repose” shows us what Berthe looked like.

In the 1870s Berthe who had developed a friendship with Degas and Bazille, agreed to be in the first independent show of Impressionist paintings, which included works by Degas, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley. Edouard Manet continued to display his works at the official Salon.

In 1874, she married Eugene Manet, Edouard’s younger brother. Manet was the middle of the three sons of Adolphe Manet, an official at the French Ministry of Justice. He was born in Paris, 22 months after his more famous older brother Édouard in January 1832, and 16 months before his younger brother Gustave in March 1835. He was named after his mother Eugénie-Désirée (née Fournier).  Eugéne served in the French Army, and then studied law, but did not follow his father into a legal career. He travelled to Italy with Édouard in 1853 to study Old Master paintings in Florence, Venice, and Rome. Eugene painted as well but devoted most of his life in support of his more talented wife, Berthe.

She participated in the Impressionist exhibitions every year except 1877, when she was pregnant with her daughter.  She passed away on March 2, 1895 at the age of 54 from a case of pneumonia.

 

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Are Trump and Pence “Making America Great Again” with Carrier Corporation?

Clean Recycled CO2 Refrigeration sold in Europe
Clean Recycled CO2 Refrigeration sold in Europe

Built on Willis Carrier’s invention of modern air conditioning in 1902, Carrier is the world leader in heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Their corporate websites informs us:  “We create comfortable and productive environments, regardless of the climate. We safeguard the global food supply by preserving the quality and freshness of food and beverages. We ensure health and well-being by enabling the proper transport and delivery of vital medical supplies under exacting conditions. We provide solutions, services and education to lead the green building movement.”   Carriers Corporation is one of the United Technologies companies which employs 197,200 Employees, brings in an adjusted net sales volume of $56.5B*, pays out $6.3* an adjusted diluted earnings per common share from continuing operations $3.9B. UTC’s Total R&D investment includes company- and customer-funded around the world. The US government and other governments around the world are included in these pre-sales earnings.

From what we can tell the company is doing great work in India for instance.  They are working hard on assisting companies reduce their food waste, which is a worldwide issue indeed.  Food Waste is a major issue in a world where so many people go hungry every day, and it is also known to be a major contributor to Green House Gases.  Pence and Trump who don’t believe in protecting the environment, are planning to donate even more money to United Technologies, Carriers Corporation.

Let’s celebrate the positive when we can.

We know that United Technologies has “supported” to create a study that will allow Carriers Corporation sell their products in India.  BIO Intelligence Service for the Global Food Cold Chain Council (“GFCCC”) with support from United Technologies (“UTC”). This Report presents an assessment of the potential of the cold chain sector to reduce GHG emissions through food loss and waste reduction.  The report educates:

"In monetary terms, the most recent global food loss estimate is a staggering $1 trillion in retail value, or about twice the gross domestic product of Norway 2 , equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product of Switzerland. Further, such loss aggravates food insecurity and malnutrition in a context of growing population and increasing food demand3 . And finally, this food wastage represents a missed opportunity to mitigate environmental impacts and use of resources from food chains. The carbon footprint of food produced and not eaten is estimated to be 3.3 Gtonnes of CO2 equivalent: food loss and waste would rank as the third top GHG emitter after USA and China if it were a country. This amount is more than twice the total GHG emissions of all USA road transportation in 2010."

United Technologies, and by extension Carrier, seemingly is doing a great job reducing food waste in India.  Full Report

How is support of this international conglomerate “Making America Great Again?

Every day at United Technologies, nearly 200,000 people across the globe help move the world forward.  In Europe they are quite competitive in the aerospace industry and in environmentally refrigeration units.

United Technologies and their brands Otis, Pratt & Whitney, UTC Aerospace Systems and UTC Climate, Controls & Security have recently initiated a $1.5 billion multiyear restructuring plan to improve our competitiveness in the global market.  In 2015 they returned approximately $12 billion to shareholders in dividends and share buyback, including a $6 billion accelerated share repurchase program. In February 2016, Carrier announced it would close its Indianapolis factory due to ongoing cost and pricing pressures and to take advantage of and Carrier’s existing infrastructure and a strong supplier base in Mexico. They also initiated a $1.5 billion multiyear restructuring plan to improve competitiveness in the global market.  They already operate out of Belgium, Canada, China, Israel, New Zealand, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, UK aside of their seven corporate offices in the US.  The UTC companies conduct operations in more than 160 locations in 26 countries. Most of the manufacturing and parts businesses are outside the US already. Location

In the letter to the shareholders UTC President and CEO elaborates on his commitment to partake in the Middle Class growth in China, India and the Middle East.  He is particularly interested in aviation as the middle class in Asia will nearly double the air travel industry in terms of carriers. Letter  Aside of making air travel in Asia great again, UTC is a major supplier and repair contractor for the US Military.  The company has enthusiastically agreed to a commitment to reduce greenhouse gases and is in the process of moving their core business to the aviation industry. Otis is still and will stay involved with elevators and escalators.

Announcement of Carriers plant shut down in February 2016.

In July Carrier and the United Steelworkers (USW) came to a generous agreement that the any of the 1,400 people who may be loosing their jobs, as they closed down old technology manufacturing lines.  They would get a severance package and support with a scholarship fund to get retrained.   It seems the company is planning to get out of the HVAC business as they have had lot’s of trouble with leaky freon. The CDC explains that the colorless, odorless gases released when freon leaks cause problems to skin, heart, central nervous system, cardiovascular system.  The symptoms include: irritation skin, throat, drowsiness, dermatitis; central nervous system depression; In Animals: cardiac arrhythmias, narcosis.

Consumer Affairs is full of costumer reviews who are not at all pleased with the damage caused by Carrier products, i.e.:  “I have two top of the line Carrier Furnaces. Both have been serviced annually. Both crapped out requiring major repairs after 6 years. Both were sold with 10 year parts warranties as they were high-end models. Now however, Carrier refuses to honor the warranty – even for parts. They claim a legal technicality buried in tiny fine print. Customer service was not responsive in any way. Both for reliability reasons and because of their unwillingness to honor their warranty, I would join the chorus of voices suggesting to avoid Carrier.”  And another: “I replaced 13 year old Trane units that performed flawlessly for two Carrier Inverter units top of the line for top efficiency with the promise of quiet and reliable and an overall install cost of 50K. In year two one unit’s outdoor inverter caught fire and was backorder for nearly a month. While they paid for the part I had to pay $1200 of labor not covered and was without AC for a month. Then the second unit failed who was installed a year later with some freeze thermostat malfunction and a bill of 1400. Again labor not covered and a month delay on getting parts. So all the energy savings and huge investment barely pay for the repair bills. Clearly Carrier does not stand behind its products and I would never buy their units again. Additionally seeing the pictures of how the unit was burned to a crisp was very troubling and when the dealer said it happens sometimes, I lost faith in Carrier. The people who invented air conditioning forgot that customers have choices. Our family will never buy Carrier again.”

According to a July 2016 article Carrier was planning to eliminate 2,378 jobs as well as 1,400 jobs during a plant closure. “The decision to cut 2,100 manufacturing jobs across the state was financial, according to a statement from Carrier, which will begin eliminating its Indianapolis workforce in 2017 and continue the layoffs through 2019.”  Full Article

According the recent reports there will be 1,000 jobs “saved” in 2017. What exactly does that mean?  Does they mean they will be laid off in 2018 and 2019 as was already planned anyway.  Or, will the jobs be saved for good and the long term? Neither the Trump/Pence team, nor Carrier have been very precise in their reports.  If indeed manufacturing jobs would be saved for good at the current payment level that would be a major win for the Trump team.  Service sector jobs pay an average of $39,338 a year, compared with $59,029 in manufacturing.  Or it may be a misinformation campaign. The provide millions of free dollars to a multi-billion dollar company that moves forward anyway with the lay-offs as negotiated with the Steel Workers Union in July 2016.  And, unless the quality of the furnaces improves and/or they are redesigned, it may just be a PR stunt for both the company and the new governmental administration, who are counting on the short memory of the public and the media alike.  Perhaps the company may be doing it primarily to hold on to those Boing contracts. This is an exciting story to watch unfold. So far it sounds more like a PR stunt.

KTLA reported: “United Technologies collects about $5.6 billion in annual revenue from U.S. government contracts, according to company filings, which is equal to about 10 percent of its overall revenue. The government also pays for nearly $1.5 billion of the company’s annual research and development spending.” full story

All that said, the retraining programs that United Technologies offers their ex-employees are exemplary.  Carrier offers their own private HVAC “University.”  They donate money to their ex-employees (tax write-off) who are able to sign up online with their non profit company (low to no taxes) for a fee and instead of having the multi-billion dollar company pay for training, they charge the soon to be or already laid-off employees. Now if they could update the curricula to more modern and usable jobs that would be great. A well managed multi-billion dollar operation now receives even more money for keeping out-dated jobs that create unpopular products that leak toxic gases.  (Consumer Affairs)

Their government sponsored (see paragraph above) commitment to move into new technologies that are environmentally friendly should not go unnoticed.  Even though they help Europe, Singapore, India and China more than the US.  We are going to stay tuned and report on how the Trump / Pence team will “Make America Great Again.”  They get an A for media relations so far.  Hope real jobs will follow in a verifiable way soon.

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Mill Valley Artist, Sudha Irwin’s art to wear pieces are enchanting.

Mill Valley Artists Sudha Irwin creates timeless pieces of art to wear.
Mill Valley Artist Sudha Irwin creates timeless pieces of art to wear.

Sudha Irwin has chosen metal arts as her medium of expression for inspirations she derives from the natural world that surrounds her in Mill Valley, California and from her travels around the world. She has been working in silver, gold, and precious and semiprecious stones for over a decade.   Sudha has travelled the world and written about natural beauty as a journalist for major magazines.  After raising her kids, she now raises our standards for grace and beauty.   Her timeless objects and art to wear will surely turn into heirlooms.  Enjoy your visit www.sudhairwin.com

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Rolando Morales December 2016 Newsletter

Rolando Morales will appear at Barone's December 2, 2016
Rolando Morales will appear at Barone’s December 2, 2016

Hola, Mi Gente!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!  I enjoyed mine.  I drove down to So Cal in time to be with my Mom on her birthday last week.  It was really important to me that I spend that precious time with her and make her smile.  I stayed through Thanksgiving and drove back up the following day in time to get into a small car accident on Black Friday night in Dublin on the way home, work all night wrestling with a failing “Mail” program with AT&T tech until 2am, and hit a private gig.  I think everything is finally up and running in time for a heavy December schedule.

This week in addition to my private shows, I’m happy to be returning to Barone’s Restaurant in Pleasanton this Friday night for a solo show at a first rate establishment.  I always enjoy the patrons and staff at this warm, welcoming venue.  Details below.

And on Saturday December 3, I return to The Vine at Bridges in Danville for a nice Latin Holiday version of my sound.  I’ll have my buddy Edgardo Cambon along to add his fire on Latin Percussion and vocals.  This might be my last appearance at The Vine for several months, so don’t miss it!  Details below.

Rolando Morales Duo at The Vine at Bridges featuring Edgardo Cambon
Rolando Morales Duo at The Vine at Bridges featuring Edgardo Cambon

Know, too, that I’m returning for our annual  Christmas “La Posada” Celebration for the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on Thursday December 8 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in San Rafael.  It’s a great opportunity for dining, networking, dancing and grooving to my music.  All the details are below.

The last public highlight happens on Saturday December 17 when I perform a special dinner show at RaeSet in Napa.  They’ll provide a special 3-course Asian fusion meal with paired beers, and I’ll do a show for each of two seatings.  All the details are below in the calendar.  Definitely make your reservations soon as seating is limited.  See www.raeset.com and order on line.  Details below in the Calendar. 

So check out your new December Calendar, come out and say Hey.  See you at the show!

Ciao,

Rolando 

PUBLIC PERFORMANCES DECEMBER 2016

Friday Dec 2, Barone’s Restaurant, 475 St. John St., Pleasanton CA, approx 7:30-10:30pm.   Rolando returns to one of Pleasanton’s premier dining establishments.  Enjoy exquisite meals, libations and Rolando’s vast repertoire in the Cocktail Lounge for a great night out.  See www.baronespleasanton.com(925) 426-0987.

Saturday Dec 3, Vine at Bridges, 480 Hartz Avenue, Danville, approx 8-11pm.  The Rolando Morales Duet returns to this cool winery and nightspot.  Enjoy a wonderful selection of wines, superb dinners and munchies while grooving to this powerful duet.  Tonight Rolando reunites with the wonderful Latin percussionist/vocalist from Uruguay who leads Candela, the great Edgardo Cambón; and on guitar, voice and his pedal board of magic, the passionate Rolando Morales.  This is only the second time they’re playing at this venue this year, so don’t miss it!  www.thevineatbridges.com(925) 820-7210.

Thursday Dec 8, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Marin Annual Christmas “La Posada” Celebration, Embassy Suites Hotel, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael CA, 5:30 to 9:30pm.  Cecilia Zamora, President of this fine organization, has invited Rolando to play for this fun celebration with members and non-members interested in this influential body of community leaders.  Enjoy Rolando performing on solo guitar and voice as you unwind to cocktails and hors d’ouvres, your included dinner and then the presentation of three annual prestigious awards.   Then Rolando will play a spirited set for dancing to close the evening.  You will emerge having made meaningful connections and sharing new insights.  $50 members/$65 non-members.   RSVP and purchase online: http://www.tinyurl.com/XMASLaPosada2016.  For info call (415) 721-9686 or email hccmarin@um.att.com.

Thursday Dec 15, Piacere, 727 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 9070, 8-11 pm.  After 2 years away, Rolando finally returns to this fine Peninsula restaurant that takes you on a culinary tour of Italy.  Rolando will take you on a sensory tour of the Americas and beyond on solo guitar and voice.  Come along for the ride.  www.piacererestaurant.com(650) 592-2040.

Saturday Dec 17, RaeSet, 3150B Jefferson Street, Napa CA 94558, Two Dinner Seatings: 5 to 6pm and 7:15 to 8:15pm.  Two Shows: approx 6 to 7:15 and 8 to 9:15pm.  Rolando debuts at this local Napa Asian Fusion casual dining room which pairs great food, great beer and great music.  Tonight they offer two seatings for a special 3-course Asian-inspired dinner.  Rolando will serve up his own unique blend of international flavors on solo guitar and voice, tailoring his sound to the moment.  $50 includes show, 3-course dinner and a tasting of Almanac beers.  Limited seating!  Reserve now at (707) 666-2475www.raeset.com.

Thursday Dec 29, Piacere, 727 Laurel Street, San Carlos, CA 94070, 8-11 pm.  Rolando returns to this fine Peninsula restaurant that takes you on a culinary tour of Italy.  Rolando will take you on a sensory tour of the Americas and beyond on solo guitar and voice in the fun, lively bar area.   www.piacererestaurant.com(650) 592-2040.

Friday Dec 30, Don Pico’s Mexican Bistro, 461 El Camino Real, San Bruno, 6 to 9 pm.   Rolando  returns to this popular dining spot for the last time this year on solo guitar and voice in the intimate Restaurant Room.  (650) 589-1163 and see  www.donpicosbistro.com

All other shows are private.  Why not hire Rolando for your own private event?  He’s available for corporate shows, weddings, parties, concerts and festivals. The Rolando Morales group is available as sextet, quintet, quartet, trio and duo depending on your entertainment needs and budget.

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