American Battle: Which is more important? Wealth or Human Rights?

Photo courtesy Hillsdale College http://online.hillsdale.edu/
Photo courtesy Hillsdale College http://online.hillsdale.edu/
The Battle between Wealth and Human Rights is nearly 250 years old.

Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay promoted the ratification of the United States Constitution with articles and essays that were collected and are still available at The Federalist Papers.*

Within these articles and essays these founders outlined their thinking about creating a federal union. They urged people to allow wise and experienced men who have the public good in mind to counter balance the needs, wishes, and desires of individual states. They believed that a federal union would better safeguard national borders, treaties with foreign nations.  National Government would enforce the laws for all people better, instead of having individual states or individuals fall prey to undue influence for personal gain, personal wealth creation, or a desire of personal power, or by foreign powers.

The Federal Papers were used to educate American voters about the benefits of balancing individuals and individual states’ freedoms with the public good and freedom as well as safety and overall wealth for all.

It is amazing how topical these papers are still today when we are engaged in the same exact battle once again.   It is obvious that the current administration and the Congress is not occupied by educated, experienced and wise men who strive for what is best for everyone.  The Constitution which was written with the public good in mind is now under constant attack.

Freedom of the Press is under attack by a President who has falsified Time Magazine covers decorating his golf courses.  He recently stated that the Constitution is “old-fashioned.”

The health care bill that is currently proposed by the House and the Senate leans strongly toward wealth creation for the few, instead of the public good and freedom for all.   The desire for individual wealth and power trumps the desire to protect freedom and safety for all.

The current administration who won due to manipulating the voting regions by gerrymandering, does not have full public support. Trump undoubtedly won over a lot of the working white class voters by promising to improve the health care system.  Now instead his party wants to eliminate coverage for millions, lower coverage for those who are sick, and increase the premiums for when the policies are used when needed. This translates to the fact that millions more will either not be able to afford healthcare as soon as they get ill or they will go bankrupt trying to pay for medical expenses. In Alaska for instance Premiums for a 60 years old man will go up to $34,000 per year a high price to pay even in a state that offers above average median wages ranging from from $84,000 to $37,284 per median family incomes.

Clean water is under attack by the chosen head of the EPA.  Millions of acres of public lands are leased to oil and gas companies with a history of causing oil spills ruining the environment.  The Secretary of State, Tillerson has a known history of ignoring, if not supporting human rights offenses, by working with government known to steal from their inhabitants and in some cases killing entire villages to be able to provide Oil companies, like Exxon, with drilling rights.

In an op-ed piece in “The Hill” David Abramowitz, points out that looking for short term wealth for the few often hurts human rights for the many in the long run.

Right now the US is run by people with a history of siding with Human Rights offenders.  Trump is publicly friends with human trafficker and known child molester Jeffrey Epstein, who ended up with very little jail time due to the Trump’s family intervention; Tillerson who was nearly sued by Indonesia for human rights offenses but “let go by W. Bush;” Joe Sessions lost his bid for the Supreme Court for his racist comments and attitudes;  Steve Bannon, known for garnering support of the KKK, Neo-Nazis; Mike Pence, known for his ties with the tobacco industry and support of ultra conservative Christians oppressive and dangerous to LGBT persons; Sebastian Gorka known for his help to Russia overthrow Democracy in Hungary; and of course Manafort, Flynn and  Trump’s own son in law; Guiliani who consulted helped prop up dictators like Duterte, Erdogan and created havoc in Venezuela.  The list is too long for this article.

It may be a good idea to reread the Atlantic Monthly Time Capsules as we watch Democracy, Human Rights, Ecology, Education, and everything that has made this country great in the past under attack.

Will the battle for democracy and freedom for all people, regardless of sex, race, religion and national heritage as outlined in the US Constitution be won – AGAIN?

* Kindle Edition free from Amazon and the Gutenberg Press.

 

 

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Whether you have a plan or not, you will get there.

Company who got funded
Company who got funded
Communication & culture determines business success

Whether I worked with a tiny start up like the one above, or Microsoft when they grew from 24 people to thousands, or major Fortune 1000 companies like for instance HP,  or a brand new entertainment company, it is usually easy to spot who will more likely succeed.

Ironically, it is not how breakthrough the company’s concept or the management team is on paper. It is also not the access the team has to VCs, Customers, and Vendors due to their Alma Mater, Or, even how chic their equipment and office furniture may be and how huge their marketing budget is initially.  Of course, all these factors help tremendously,  and of course without a functioning product or services success stays elusive.

What is so striking to me still, after providing strategic advice to companies during their rapid growth phase for so many years, is how much internal communications affects a company’s overall success.

I found in my many years of assisting people succeed, often from the two guys or ladies’ with an idea on a napkin at an affordable coffee shop phase to literally becoming billionaires. Quite a few of them anyhow and millionaires still count, right?  The success often hinges on the way the teams communicate with each other inside the company.  This is often an underrated success factor.

Are the founders/managers listening and hearing what their teams have to say?  Are they staying informed about what the teams are actually working on? Or, is everyone creating their own little business model without letting the rest of the team know?  Are people and their contributions valued?  Are they encouraged to contribute? Do they feel that they can grow their own career within the company by helping the company grow. Or, do they feel that their ideas are disrespected or worse stolen, are they treated like minions, do they feel used and abused.  Very often when the first or second venture money arrives, it quickly becomes apparent who can handle success without loosing composure.  Attitudes matter.

Companies, no matter how large or how small,  improve their success rate tremendously if they insisted that people communicate with each other in an empowering and honest way. The corporate culture is always linked with top management. Today the HR teams have a lot of influence, not always for the better. Whoever is in charge of hiring has a great influence over a companies’ success or failure.  Every new individual brings their own culture into the enterprise and adds or subtracts from the overall success of the company.  The culture determines if the company stays informed, nimble and quick – yet steady, reliable, and solid. Successful companies typically somehow manage both by nurturing a culture of open and mutually respectful internal dialogue.

A quote that I often share with C-level managers:  “Whether you have a plan or not, you will get there.”

If the company has a plan everyone has a chance to move forward toward the common goal.  If there is no plan, everyone may very well move in different directions, messing up the chances for success.  If there is a plan that only the top managers know, the company functions as though there really is no plan. Only if everyone on the various teams understands the overall plan, likes and buys into the plan, sticks with the plan or improves and carries out their own part of the plan, has the company a solid chance for success. This is true at every phase of a company’s growth. Lack of mutual respect ruins companies. Sometimes when larger sums of investor money arrive some people get grandiose or create cliques. It is no fun to watch people lose money through foolishness and arrogance.

A small company maintains a solid sense of direction and cohesion by having regular meetings in which people in the various departments share how they move toward meeting their miles stones. An open communication style rooted in polite behavior and mutual respect allows everyone to help improve the companies’ cohesiveness and allows the prompt removal of obstacles to success.  As the company grows it is still needed that hundreds of people share their own progress and concerns on how to improve their abilities for mutual progress.  At that point, having a clear communication flow vertically, horizontally, and across different departments is ever more important. By the time communication flow needs to filter through team managers the corporate communication culture becomes vital to the company’s health.  For many years I heard financial manager say “stay out of the weeds.”  Yet, if you don’t know about an overgrowth of weeds, the growth of the crop may be strangled before top managers or the board finds out about needed fixes. Think Uber CEO!

Strategic governance allows departments to stay focused on future goals while dealing with issues in the here and now.  It helps a company stay realistic and in tune with their vision, mission, the company’s values, and manage available or missing resources.  Team members, whether male or female, will not get defensive if they stay regularly informed about market changes, delivery issues, needs or opportunities in the various departments. In healthy companies there are no problems only solutions! It’s a matter of the corporate culture’s attitude toward issues.

A cohesive team will freely identify and manage challenges, and turn them into opportunities.  They will avoid unnecessary risks and make sure the entire company is legally compliant, while allowing the company’s individual divisions adapt to remain relevant to the overall success of the company.  Company’s who have constructive policies about sharing, evaluating, and acting on new information without getting distracted from their overall plan have a greater chance for success.

 

 

 

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Today, Supreme Court in US decides to support Trump for the first time, twice!

Hungarian Jews arriving at camp being separated
Hungarian Jews arriving at camp being separated
Unlike Comey, Gorsuch must have sworn complete and unwavering loyalty to Trump.

Trump is jubilant.  The now conservative US Supreme Court, supported by his appointee Justice Gorsuch, has ruled that his Muslim ban is partly okay until the time they will look at it in October.  Experts seems to agree that this is a sign that the Court will uphold his ban in October.

He and his son-in-law recently sold $110 Billion dollars of weapons to the ultraconservative Muslim country of Saudi Arabia, which is known to poison young people’s minds all around the world through their state supported Imams who prejudice against women, Christians, and are known to promote ISIS and attacks on Westerners.   But, money talks in Trump land. If you pay you get to play, if you are poor you get prejudiced against.  None of the Muslim nations whose citizens are now bannedhave as many known terrorists as Saudi Arabia.  So why aren’t the Saudi Arabian Muslim’s banned?  Why are only Muslims from oil-poor countries banned? Maybe because they are “useless” to the likes of Trump and his supporters who seem only interested in the Mighty Mammon.

Unfortunately, Democrats don’t seem to have any strategy to change the system, except to ask for their daily demand for small bits of money, as though being willing to ask for small donations is a badge of honor in the money driven world of Nancy Pelosi.  No wonder voters are turned off by both parties.

The second ruling supported by the now conservative US Supreme Court is to abolish separation of Church and State.  Yes, the Lutheran church merely wanted to have the state to pay for their children’s playground protective rubber mats. Seems benign, right?  However, as the Constitution is once more ignored they have now set yet another precedent.  First “Church-going” people don’t have to sell cake, they don’t have to support women’s health, now churches can demand tax dollars, and soon?  Well, it seems we are well on our way back to the Middle Ages.

The news about right-wing success is encouraging others to come out of the woodwork.  Hungarian Leader Orbán today honored Hitler and Himmler supporter Miklós Horthy, who was personally responsible for collaborating with the Nazis in sending over 600,000 Jews to the death camps. Today this mass murderer is celebrated in Hungary as the US lost its way and the Supreme Court ignores the Constitution, again.  This is a sad day in history and soon young people around the world will have to choose between Life and Death, again.

In the Federalist No. 2, “Concerning Dangers from Foreign Force and Influence” for the Independent Journal, written Wednesday, October 31, 1787 we find:

"It has lately been a received and uncontradicted opinion that the prosperity of the people of America depended on their continuing firmly united, and the wishes, prayers, and efforts of our best and wisest citizens have been constantly directed to that object. But politicians now appear, who insist that this opinion is erroneous, and that instead of looking for safety and happiness in union, we ought to seek it in a division of the States into distinct confederacies or sovereignties.  However extraordinary this new doctrine may appear, it nevertheless has its advocates; and certain characters who were much opposed to it formerly, are at present of the number.  Whatever may be the arguments or inducements which have wrought this change in the sentiments and declarations of these gentlemen, it certainly would not be wise in the people at large to adopt these new political tenets without being fully convinced that they are founded in truth and sound policy.  

It has often given me pleasure to observe that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected, fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty."

Perhaps there is hope in this text that was written so eloquently nearly 230 years ago.  Apparently the debate about State Rights and Federal Cohesion of the USA has been going on for a very long time. Maybe this great country will survive this latest onslaught of personalized greed and stay democratic after all – eventually.

 

 

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