Made in Germany – will it stay a strong brand without the US partnership?

https://bmw-grouparchiv.de/
BMW HISTORY

Europeans are starting to accept that they will have to go it alone and figure out how to deal with their own issues – now that the “Partners in Leadership” pact that lead the world is dead and gone.   Since the end of World War II – Germany gladly tamed its own internal monsters by relying on this partnership with the US.  Germany has followed the US, partnered with the US, implemented US strategies, fully trusting that the promises Reagan, W.H.Bush, Bill Clinton, W. Bush, and Obama made to the Germany and by extension to the EU. Now the world has to come to grips with the current change of direction that sometimes feels like a betrayal by the US. As Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff explained to Juurd Eijsvoogel, in the NRC News.

“Now Germany is faced with the horrible truths as Germany has no nuclear weapons. The country is completely dependent on the American security umbrella. That awareness was of course there earlier, but only in abstract. Trump’s harsh attitude here has caused an acute sense of complete powerlessness in Berlin. The world is no longer about Europe. The problem why America engages here dates back more than seventy years ago. In itself it is understandable that America wants to shift its attention to other parts of the world. We could have seen that coming. You also saw it with previous presidents.”

 

Trump’s wishes to focus the US inward.  He wants to cut the country off from the world and seems merely eager to please Putin, Kim Jong-Un, Xi JinPing, and the Saudis.  He welcomed Duterte and Erdogan, and the right-wing leader of Poland and Hungary.  He disregards all the leaders of democratic nations and voices his dislike of most European, NAFTA leaders and Australians.

The West is floundering.  Blaming immigrants, closing borders will not be the most constructive way to run a country or economic region.  It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about the US or Europe.  The US wants to close its borders to immigration instead of strengthening the middle class. This policy will not succeed regardless of whether the US succeeds in offending the rest of the world and shutting itself into its tiny fortress.  Without a growing population and without international trade every country will move backwards.  The policy of breaking promises and committing inhumane and egregious acts will backfire for many years to come regardless of whether it is carried out in the US or in Europe. All we have to do is watch the Middle East and Africa to see that conflict doesn’t pay many dividends, except to weapons’ dealers, mining operators and eventually construction companies.

Similarly in the EU, the ill-fated Dublin-Agreement burdens Greece and Italy as the point of entry states with all the problems of integrating immigrants.  Naturally this doesn’t work, it could never have worked.  Without a healthy immigration policy the EU will suffer terrible economic consequences.  It is already a tiny region when compared to China, India, Latin America and North America. Without immigration, the population and therefore the economy  will shrink, burdening the ever fewer young with the cost of caring for an expanding older population.

Ronald Barazon states in his article in the DWN: ” With a realistic attitude that emphasizes the need for immigration, meets foreigners positively, but does not close their eyes to problems and needs, a constructive policy should be possible.

The US and Europe are partly responsible for the prevailing chaos. The interventions of recent years – from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya – have been driven by a very positive effort to eliminate brutal dictators in these countries. However, not a flourishing democracy followed, but the abolished rulers were replaced by numerous other brutal actors who are now triggering the waves of refugees. Currently, too many politicians are misusing immigration as a means of concealing their many failures in other areas. “

Strengthening the middle class works wonders for stability.  That role falls on investors and business leaders. Politicians are too dependent on donors and simply carry forth policies that are in the best interest of a few wealthy donors. Only when global business leaders realize that an eroding middle class erodes ROI, will the world move in a better direction.  Perhaps things have to get quite terrible in terms of ROI before business leaders and politicians get personally affected enough to choose change. In Europe that time is now.

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Trade Wars: What will the multi-billion dollar trade wars accomplish for the US?

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-art-of-the-deal-royalties-trump-2017-6
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-art-of-the-deal-royalties-trump-2017-6

Trump Supporters are exhilarated about their US created global trade wars 

Trump supporters approve of the US presidents actions, words and attitude at historic levels. 90% approve of everything Trump does or says, not everyone agrees.  Yet, many wonder whether the GOP actually is following a plan:

“Yes, they have a plan. No, I don’t think it will work,” said Bill Reinsch, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “The plan is always push harder, demand everything and offer nothing.”  Source:  South China Morning Post

European’s, especially Merkel, are frightened by the changes imposed on the EU. The situation depends on the individual global companies business strategies.  Many European and Asian companies are baffled by Trump’s strategy.  For many decades they have listened to many US presidents and their “Partners in Leadership” promises and in the spirit of collaboration have created hundreds and thousands of jobs for Americans in the US.

https://global.handelsblatt.com/mobility/vw-bmw-daimler-trump-import-895206

Das Handelblatt’s, Lukas Bay, reports: “The US president has threatened European automakers such as VW, BMW and Daimler with a levy. He’s forgetting that the Germans have huge plants in the US.  At the time, he warned that BMW and other carmakers could face a 35 percent import duty for cars not built in the United States. He targeted BMW because it is building a new plant in Mexico. Trump doesn’t seem to realize that the BMW plan in Mexico is there to meet rising demands for cars in Latin America.” BMW actually exports cars made in the US by American workers.   Source:  Das Handelsblatt

Der Spiegel reports:  “Executives at Siemens, the global engineering giant, are still relatively relaxed at company headquarters in Munich. Siemens operates its own plants in the U.S. for products with high steel or aluminum content like trains, gas turbines and ultrasound equipment. In theory, at least, its subsidiaries could buy raw materials or semi-finished products locally to circumvent the punitive tariffs. But that does not apply to special alloys that are not produced in the U.S. They would have to be imported from Germany and would be slapped with the additional tariffs.  The biggest concern is not the impact the trade tariff’s have on the US – German trade – it is only 4% for many companies so they can withstand that comfortably.

The bigger issue that companies and countries are grappling with is cheap steel that is now diverted from Russia, India and Turkey.  Since these companies were not given a temporary exemption they have dumped their inferior products in the EU for super low prices.  The EU is more worried about the effect these inferior steel will have on the EU brand around the globe as cheap inferior products are making it on the market.  It will not affect the US either in trade nor in taxes.

In Germany for instance 95% of all wealth is created by small and midsize firms. This is the reason why Germany is thriving and able to withstand economic upheaval.  Germany has a very strong middle class that has been growing jobs.  In the US the Middle Class has been eroded by corporate welfare laws that favor large global conglomerates.

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Griffin Motivation signs with Eagle One Insights to rapidly expand their Corporate Incentive and Empowerment Programs

Griffin Motivation - CorporateSpeaker www.griffinmotivation.com
Griffin Motivation – CorporateSpeaker www.griffinmotivation.com

West Jordan, Utah, June 11, 2018  EagleONE Insights signs Griffin Motivation to expand Corporate Incentive and Empowerment Programs

Mike Hutzel, CEO is excited that Griffin Motivation has signed up EagleONE Insights: “Jeff Griffin and I fully agree that Griffin Motivation’s offer matches up nicely with EagleONE Insights’ and our core values. We  create programs to penetrate our clients’ specific marketing venues. Our methodologies focus exclusively on a quantifiable ROI for our clients.”

Griffin Motivation provides a pathway for fast growth companies  to embrace exponential growth with enthusiasm.  Jeff Griffin empowers companies to achieve success faster by teaching a practical and doable way to tap into their companies’ own teams hidden strengths.

Mark Jenkins, the CEO of Petersen Inc., asked Jeff Griffin to come and present at their mid-year company meeting.  Petersen brought all the welders, their executive, and sales team together in one of their hangars.  Before Jeff presented his transformational message and life-altering experience Mark Jenkins reviewed the vital signs of the company and reminded the team of their year-end goals. One number stood out to Jeff Griffin because it was both big, bold, and exciting!  It was also the main reason for his invitation to speak.  Petersen committed to bring their sales up to 80 million dollars.  They were at 33 million mid-way through that year. A 47-million-dollar gap! Jeff Griffin delivered his transformational message and received a standing ovation from a group of blue-collar workers.  Petersen’s VP of Sales told Jeff Griffin after his speech: “This is exactly what we needed.”  By the end of that year they reached their goal AND exceeded it by 10 million dollars.

Jeff Griffin knows all about what it takes to build self-motivation, discover new strengths, even during moments of despair, and turn it into an action plan that works.  With his thrilling life story, which he shared in his popular book “I’m Possible” he shows how he overcame despair in his own life as a paraplegic and turned his handicaps into a system of motivating factors that work.   Unlike more “traditional” management workshops claiming that a team is only as strong as its weakest link Griffin Motivation teaches that each person can move from “it’s impossible” to” I’m Possible” and tap into the amazing hidden strength each person already has inside. Corporate Managers are raving about the impact Jim Griffin’s workshop had not only on their workers self-esteem and team spirit but also measurably on their bottom line:

 “Jeff’s story is amazing, he shares his experience in a manner that has you laughing at one moment and tugging at your heartstrings the next. I highly recommend Jeff as a motivational speaker especially if you are looking for a powerful message of courage, positive attitude, faith, hope, dreaming big, hard work and never giving up. Listening to his story is amazing but “seeing” his story is even better!

–    Mark Jenkins – Chief Executive Officer, Petersen Inc. + 500 employees

EagleONE Insights provides access to more companies to Griffin Motivation’s powerful messages.  Mike Hutzel’s team meets clients where they are and goes on the journey with them to where they want to be. The teacher, Jeff Griffin, is now listening to his own advice and is stepping it up own enterprise.  EagleONE Insights is ready to show the world what happens when each of their team members act on the inner strength of: “I’m Possible!” and moves to the “We’re Possible!”

###

About Griffin Motivation

Jeff’s real-life results and professional training gave rise for speeches, customized workshops, and personalized training sessions.  Now Griffin Motivation brings these hard-won insights to corporations who want to tap into the inner hidden strength of their employees, foster a strong can-do team spirit. The Griffin Motivation workshops have been tried and tested in the sports world for many years and are now available to companies.  Jeff Griffin was given a life sentence to live life from a wheelchair. He has accomplished some extraordinary things. He played in the 2004 Paralympic games in Athens, Greece, and is a silver medalist in Wheelchair basketball. He’s a (NWBA) National Champion, and a four-time All-Star MVP. He also won the St. George Marathon, has two Guinness Book of World Records, and wrote an award-winning book titled I’Mpossible: Desire. Dream. Do.  He recently ran 5 miles on the elliptical bike!  His company’s message is compelling since he captivates his audience with authenticity and humor.  www.griffinmotivation.com

About EagleONE Insights

We help our clients build trust by respecting and truly understanding their customers.  EagleONE Insights’ proprietary sales and sales support process of the 3-E Impact℠, ENGAGE, EVOLVE & ELEVATE, gives our clients our 3-E ImpactSM in every mission.  Our strong professional team of subject matter experts collect data, analyze it and provide our clients with deep strategic insights. We deploy the latest technology to get the job done on time, on budget, with precision.  We take great pride in understanding our clients’ needs and helping them to grow their revenue streams and the reputation of their brand. This allows our clients to focus on keeping up with market trends while we grow revenue and add revenue streams.  We believe that by working with our team, people of integrity, we have a strong foundation by which to facilitate our client’s success. Our joint effort improves our clients’ ROI on a consistent and long-term basis.  www.eagleoneinsights.com

Company Direct Contacts: 

Griffin Motivation, Jim Griffin, CEO
jeff@griffinmotivation.com or 385.288.1218

EagleONE Insights, Mike Hutzel, CEO
Mike.Hutzel@eagleoneinsights.com
O: 513.847.0410   C: 513.505.6693

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Vigilint Biosensors and School Districts in California work together to increase school safety.

San Jose, California –  May 1, 2018 – Vigilint Biosensors, leading supplier of Family Assistant Parental Services through smartwatches, is extending its Educational Support Programs which increases school safety, helps child learning and raises money for Educational Foundations, Schools, PTAs, and Booster ClubsAfter successful pilot programs in San Ramon and Sacramento California school districts, Viglint Biosensors is offering the program to qualified organizations in all fifty states.

“Vigilint Family Assistant Services provide parents with life-altering insights collected from the kid’s smart watch that can inform parents of a child’s location and allows them to speak when needed,” said Kris Narayan, Chairman of Vigilint™ Biosensors. Mr. Narayan continued, “I am grateful Vigilint Biosensors can get our smart watches to the children, parents and schools that want the help kids with deal with stress and adversity to improve our children’s emotional resilience.”

Vigilint Biosensors Education Programs allow school districts to raise money while they provide kids smart watch phones and software to parents and their children which increase school safety. Modern tools like Vigilint Family Assistant help working parents stay in touch with their kids via calls, chat and the ability to guide the kids 24/7.  Kids have access to parents each time they need their parents’ input and feedback.  Hawkeye kid’s smart watches and the Vigilint Family Assistant app allow parents to create custom SafeZones™. School safety is increased when at the moment the child moves out of the SafeZone™, parents are alerted.

Knowing exactly where and how our children are is a major comfort for parents and kids.  Each kids smart watch holds up to 20 parent-selected numbers that children can call. Kids are able to speak to their siblings and close friends through a direct kid-to-kid “walkie-talkie” connection. The more parents and kids communicate the less stress they have due to wondering and worrying. Relaxed parents enjoy happier and more confident kids that have a better, healthier and smarter life thanks to increase emotional resilience as recent studies by the Harvard Child Development show. For more information regarding kids smart watches and child learning, please click here.

Tonja Jarrell, Principal of Paso Verde School, in California’s capital city: “Partnering with Vigilint Biosensors provides a valuable resource to our school community. We work with families and the community to offer solutions that increase school safety, allows our staff and scholars to focus on teaching and make our students feel safe enough to learn thereby increasing their outcomes.”

Th improved communications via kids smart watches help teachers deal with children’s and faculties’ anxieties about the fears regarding school safety related to the recent increase of shootings at schools:  “My experiences in the educational community, have shown that these tragedies affect all of us, not just the families involved,” said Nancy Phelps, President Coyote Creek Learning Fund. “Vigilint Biosensors software and smartwatches help protect our kids while providing parents peace of mind.”

Every school, school program, non-profit or educational program manager is invited to join the Vigilint Biosensors Education Program, thereby increasing funding for vital programs, raising awareness of how to help children learn better and increase school safety.

About Vigilint Biosensors

Hawkeye kids smart watches from Vigilint Biosensors provide fun and safe solutions to families and younger children: communications and learning for children and peace of mind for parents. The combination of the best location technologies (GPS, GNSS, A-GPS and sensors) will easily locate your child, anytime and anywhere. Visit http://www.vigilint.store/ for complete product details.

Vigilint Biosensors is dedicated to improving the quality of care that parents and senior caregivers provide through a complete 360o intelligent family care assistant, that connects family members together via wearable devices like Hawkeye. Vigilint Biosensors provides the family/caregivers with a cloud infrastructure of devices and software services, which strives to improve time management and reduce stress by improved non-intrusive care for kids, seniors, and other loved ones in need. This is achieved through the most modern application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies to life data that provide alerts, if and when needed.  “When those we care about are well, we can relax and focus on our day.” www.vigilintbiosensors.com

Learn more about our dedicated team:  Vigilint Biosensors 

Learn more about our products and services:  Vigilint Store

Vigilint Biosensors
20315 McKean Rd
San Jose, CA 95120

bizdev@vigilintbio.com

 

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Parents need to carefully monitor younger kids use of apps, as not all are COPPA compliant

Musical.ly App
Musical.ly App
Digital Companies Span the Globe

Musical.ly is a fun app for teens It is also one of the latest company that is facing a similar plight as Facebook. International regulations and laws conflicts.

Privacy laws around the world are not the same and with the most recent trend to stop international collaborations, it will become ever more challenging.  Musical.ly is a Chinese owned company.  Therefore COPPA, the organization that protects children under 13 in the US, may be rather meaningless to them, and their Boston US office. The app is designed for teens.

In China the entire internet is regulated by the government.  Free press, per se, does not exist in China and everything any Chinese citizen does has to be government approved or at least tolerated.  Like elsewhere, human trade is rampant in China and therefore Chinese citizens seem to be very protective of their kids. In 2014 the Chinese government busted four different human trafficking rings and saved 382 babies

As a result, Chinese business managers, may not be aware of the issues parents face in an open and free society.  Their parental guide clearly indicates that they provide valuable advice to parents, on how to protect their kids, and it is clear that they give full responsibility to the parents.  This has brought them into legal conflict with the US based COPPA rules, that demands, companies protect underage children, children younger than 13, from harm.

Facebook is running afoul with EU privacy laws, and laws holding companies liable for deaths that result from spreading illegal hate speech.  Chinese companies run into problems with COPPA; German companies were caught cheating against Clean Air laws in the US.  We live in an international world and we all have to become more aware and respectful of each other and our own needs and preferences.  Particularly when it come to protecting young children, prevention is worth much more than feeling sorry later on.

One way to prevent stranger danger is to give young kids Hawkeye Smartwatches, that simply don’t allow apps that are not COPPA compliant. Check out www.vigilintbiosensors.com for ways to accomplish this.  Maybe soon Musical.ly will provide a kids friendly version of their app on that gated kid-friendly system. We can always hope.  In the meantime – let’s watch over our kids carefully.

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Vigilint Biosensors and Coyote Creek Elementary School partner to achieve Peace Of Mind for Parents

Artificial Intelligence & Wearables to Transform Parenting

“The child supplies the power but the parents have to do the steering.”
-Benjamin Spock

Vigilint Biosensors launches School Programs across California

SAN JOSE, Calif., Apr. 23, 2018 – You drop your child off at school and relax. With an Hawkeye Smartwatch on your child’s wrist, you can breathe a little easier again. Hawkeye will let you know where your child is all day and connects you to them at any time. Vigilint Biosensors, a leading supplier of Parental Assistant Service through smartwatches, has launched a joint program with the Coyote Creek Elementary School to help parents provide Hawkeye smartwatches to children through their school and donate to STEM programs. Nancy Phelps, President of Coyote Creek Learning Fund, stated, “Vigilint software and its Hawkeye smartwatches help protect our kids while providing parents peace of mind.

Hawkeye smartwatches inform, protect and reassure parents/caregivers. The watches allow parents to create custom SafeZones™. The moment the child moves out of the SafeZone™, parents are alerted. The watches also offer a step tracker which kids love, as they compare their physical activities with other kids during recess. Parents can check on their physical fitness via a convenient app.  Each watch holds up to 20 parent-selected numbers that children can call. Kids can also speak to their siblings and close friends through a direct kid-to-kid connection. You can even add two other trusted family members to be contacted in an emergency.  No more scrambling for phone numbers when it is least convenient—like when you are stuck in traffic somewhere or a meeting runs overtime. Simply call your child and activate your back-up plan. Problem solved. Relaxed parents enjoy happier and more confident kids.

Vigilint Biosensors Non-Profit Support Programs generously offers Hawkeye smartwatches for $99 plus a $10 monthly Parental Assistant Service subscription, and Vigilint Biosensors will donate 20 dollars to their child’s school for each watch purchased. Win-Win. Vigilint is also providing Hawkeye smartwatches to schools for auction with proceeds going to support STEM and safety programs. Vigilint Biosensors is currently expanding this program throughout the United States. “I realize parents need a lot of support for the care of their kids during these hectic times,” said Vigilint Biosensor Co-Founder, Kris Narayan. Vigilint Biosensors was founded specifically with that goal in mind, by Kris Narayan and his long-time colleague Jodie Hughes. They joined forces to help bring fun and communications to kids and feeling of safety parents via Hawkeye Smartwatches.

About Vigilint Biosensors

Hawkeyes Smart Watches from Vigilint Biosensors provide fun and safe solutions to families with younger children: communications and learning for children and peace of mind for parents. The combination of the best location technologies (GPS, GNSS, A-GPS and sensors) will easily locate your child, anytime and anywhere. Visit www.vigilintbiosensors.com

Vigilint Biosensors is dedicated to improving the quality of care that parents and senior caregivers provide through a complete 360o intelligent family care assistant, that connects family members together via wearable devices like hawkeye. Vigilint Biosensors provides the family/caregivers with a cloud infrastructure of devices and software services, which strives to improve time management and reduce stress by improved non-intrusive care for kids, seniors, and other loved ones in need. This is achieved through the most modern application of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies to life data that provide alerts, if and when needed.  “When those we care about are well, we can relax and focus on our day.” www.vigilintbiosensors.com

Learn more about us and our dedicated team: Vigilint Biosensors or contact as us at:

Vigilint Biosensors
20315 McKean Rd
San Jose, CA 95120

to get an introductions and appointments with the appropriate contact persons or press materials and white paper links.

edie.okamoto@meet3chords.com

Call Edie Okamoto at +1 510 693-0166 or contact the company directly at +1 408 497 1197

Learn about how your school can join our program.

Vigilint BioSensors

To learn more about Vigilint BioSensorsVigilint STEM School Program and how to join our school program School Program or our Non-profit Program
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H/F and Code and Modules invite you to join us at HardwareCon

Visit with Code and Modules and check out their Pixieboards
Visit with Code and Modules and check out their Pixieboards
H/F and Code and Modules invite you to join us at HardwareCon

Our friends at Hardware Massive have officially announced their 2-day hardware innovation conference HardwareCon.

Date: Thursday, April 19th – Friday April 20th, 2018
Location: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA

HardwareCon will showcase the best hardware innovations and most influential players in the hardware ecosystem from around the globe to the San Francisco Bay Area to Get Deals Done. The conference boasts two full days of keynotes including Allan Alcorn and SC Moatti, main stage panels and breakout sessions, plus a newly added IoT Summit, presented by Parks Associates. Check out our full agenda and amazing lineup of speakers.

Over two days you’ll get actionable advice on how to build, grow and finance a successful business and learn about emerging industry business opportunities. HardwareCon is the new central meeting place that brings together the global community of hardware thought leaders, investors, entrepreneurs and innovators for two days to “Get Deals Done.” VCs from Silicon Valley, hardware industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and corporate strategists will take the stage to give insightful panel discussions around new hardware as a service models, AI, robotics, blockchain for hardware, health and wellness, as well as realties around IoT platforms.

Whether you are an early stage startup looking for answers, a service provider looking to meet your next client, or an investor looking for your next deal, HardwareCon is the premier venue to Get Deals Done in 2018.

Use the special link below to take an additional 15% off your already discounted Insider Rate just for being a friend of HardwareCon! Don’t miss out as our Insider Rate pricing ends on March 30th.

Get your Insider Rate ticket here: https://www.hardwarecon.com/page/1310943/register?promo=HFX

About Code and Modules

Pixieboard is a single-board computer based on the NXP® i.MX6 application processor. Pixieboard’s feature set accelerates product design for a broad range of demanding, industrial-strength applications. It includes 4GB RAM, powerful wireless – 4G/3G cellular, WiFi ac MIMO and Bluetooth 4.2 in all versions – and a processor with an extended operating temperature range of -40°F up to 257 °F. Pixieboard is also FCC certified, and is ready to enable connected solutions which allow a fast time to market. All this is delivered in a form factor small enough to hold in the palm of your hand. It has been exhaustively tested and is industry ready. Pixieboard saves about 10 months in development time, allowing your team to stay focused on the core features of your proprietary solution. Visit us at www.HardwareCon.com or learn more at www.codeandmodules.com

 

About Hackers/Founders

Making founders’ lives better in Silicon Valley and around the world. During the past decade, Hackers/Founders (H/F) evolved from a Silicon Valley-based meetup into the company that strives to make the Silicon Valley accessible to founders around the world. H/F now has 300,000 members in nearly 50 countries who get together to compare notes, network, and connect with service providers. H/F’s team has grown to a substantial full-time team of analysts, biz dev consultants and financiers who provide customized consulting to portfolio companies. Over the past five years, 55 companies have joined the H/F portfolio program, which is called the Co-op. In that time, there have been 8 successful exits with one company, Tripping, receiving an additional $52 Million in funding and reaching $400 Million in sales.  For the past five years, the H/F funds have produced 30% ROI year after year for accredited investors. Currently Jonathan Nelson and his team have launched HACK Fund, an ETF mutual fund, which accepts Cash or ETH tokens for participation by accredited investors in the US and other investors in those countries where it is permissible by law.   www.hf.cx    hack.hf.cx

 

About HardwareCon

HardwareCon is your opportunity to learn about the latest technology and business trends in AI, Machine Learning, Robotics, IoT, Blockchain, Product Design and more. Attendees will hear from leading Fortune 500 hardware brands such as Google, ANSYS and Dragon Innovation, connect & collaborate top investors, and interact with the most promising startup companies from across the global hardware ecosystem.

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Now Laura Ashley is brilliantly marketed…

Rosie on Fire, business attire
Rosie on Fire, business attire

Laura Ashley is brilliantly marketed.  It reminds Baby Boomer ladies of the days, back when they were young, confident and beautiful, during the late 1980s.  It meets their current wish to tend to their wonderful gardens with stylish garden clothing, hats, and garden tools.  Lovely.

In 1925 baby Laura Ashley was born in Dowley, Wales.  She was an enterprising woman and started designing home furnishings. Later on in life, in the 1960s she also expanded her business into clothing.

Laura Ashley RIP September 17, 1985
Laura Ashley RIP September 17, 1985

She was inspired by the Roman Holiday.  Audrey Hepburn looked so pretty and her clothes were feminine and romantic, unlike the psychedelic fashion that took over the UK at that time. Think the Mike Myers movie “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.”

The fashion brand was a huge success and in the 1980s it expanded into the US.  After Laura Ashley’s death in September 1985 the company had been taken public.

Today the company is owned by Malayan United Industries Berhad (MUI) which is listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad. The corporate philosophy of the Group  for over 50 years is guided by three key attributes – strength, efficiency and trustworthiness.   In their advertisements here in the US, in which older ladies are sold gardening tools and chic outfits by one of the top retailers in the US, Orchard Hardware Supplies, this sentiment certainly comes across.  But few people realize that the company merely sells to the US consumer, than transports the earnings to Malaysia, where undoubted lot of very young people are employed.

One of their important non-executive directors has been educated in the US. Tan Sri Dato’ Paduka Dr. bin Ahmad attended Advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School, Executive Development Program at Philippines Executive Academy and holds Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in History from University of Malaya, Master of Public Administration from University of Pittsburgh and PhD in Public Administration from University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA.

The trading company, one of the most successful company’s in Malaysia, is managed by Khoo Kay Peng.  In his personal life Mr. Khoo Kay Peng does not espouse the values he sells to the women in the US.  He is divorced from the former Ms. Malaysia Pauline Chai who now lives in the UK.  Their daughter Angeline Francis Khoo revealed in  2014  that domestic violence was the cause of their parents divorce.  Bravo to Ms. Pauline Chai for no longer putting up with maltreatment.  The UK courts awarded her $112 Million in their divorce settlement, clearly a very tiny fraction of the overall personal value their 40 years marriage has produced.  However, the price for freedom of maltreatment is worth it. It is always a very brave step to leave your abuser.

Khoo Kay Peng’s daughter, also a Ms. Malaysia, met a young Caribbean Scientist at Oxford and in order to be permitted to marry him, she chose to be disowned by her imperialistic father. She was slated to run the Laura Ashley empire and had spent every University Holiday learning about the business. After the split with her father, she decided that she could not be stopped by his controlling behavior and she started “Rosie on Fire.” Lovely fashion indeed.

Malaysia has joined the United Nations, which is disconcerting since their influence on the world seems to be quite horrible.  Here are some details of recent human rights offenses within Malaysia.

Now back to Orchard Hardware Supplies.   Orchard Hardware Supplies initially benefitted greatly from the real estate boom in Northern California.  Despite the fact that their loyal customers left the individual retail outlets with solid sales, the debt piled on by Sears turned out to be unbearable. Sears spun out the company as an empty shell and unloaded it to Lowe’s after it had filed for Chapter 11 for $205 Million dollars.  More

Now Laura Ashley is brilliantly marketed.  It reminds Baby Boomer ladies of the days, back when they were young, confident and beautiful.  It meets their current wish to tend to their wonderful gardens with stylish garden clothing, hats, and garden tools.  Lovely.

It is marketed truly in line with the corporate manifesto of their Malaysian owners.  It is undoubtedly very profitable, which will please the owners of Lowe’s primarily illustrious institutional investors.  76% of all shares are held by Vanguard Group, BlackRock, State Street, Wellington Management Group, and Price T. Rowe Associates, according to the Nasdaq.

Personally I genuinely believe that we influence the way the world works each and every day.  You can spend your hard earned money on lovely phantasies created by brilliant marketers.  Enjoyable and practical.  Or, you can buy from small business owners, thereby actually changing and improving women’s lives.   www.fikuros.com is now available on Etsy.   Amazing Bespoke Accessories created one at a time by Niina Karlsson in Finland. Or the many fabulous designers well-known and brand new, available on www.dreslyn.com a company recently started by three millennials, a couple and the lady founder’s brother and her husband’s best friend.  They are genuinely lovely and very smart.  Or, you can check out up and coming designers on Nineteenth Amendment

Fortunately, since we live in a genuine democracy the choice is genuinely yours.  We each get to choose everyday where and with whom we will spend our money.

PS:  If you feel that you or someone you know may be abused, know that there are a lot of people who care.  You can get legal assistance.  You can get physical protection. There is a lot of help. Accepting help from good people is the first step out of domestic violence misery. Elderly who are abused by “care takers” also can get help through the same links.

 

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Are Facebook and Twitter becoming a bit more conscious and aware? Maybe!

Facebook in their media relations page claimed this:

“Over the past few months, we have taken action against fake accounts in France, Germany, and other countries, and we recently stated that we will no longer allow Pages that repeatedly share false news to advertise on Facebook.”

I rejoice since I think at last the manipulations of nefarious activities manipulating the public, whether it is Russians getting conservatives hyped up into a mob mentality against the LGBT community, or having an unqualified real estate maven,  who seemed surprised  that he was chosen to be president, or providing a platform for hate speech for German Nazi’s, which happened to be against the law.

I followed the development of the extreme right groups who are often sponsored and supported by Russia – take hold in Western Europe and I was surprised since it used to be against the law to even whisper the word “Nazi”  in Germany.   The punishment in the 1980s was severe – over $1000 in fines or 2 weeks in prison.

How the world has changed since the Reagan era when we become “one world.”  Germans seem to have forgotten their history and now Neo Nazis are running around demonstrating and promoting their hate freely in public, protected by the free speech laws.  Erdogan’s dictator supporting Turkish soldiers are running around Germany turning in ex-soldiers, if they practice German free speech, and Erdogan tried to shut up a, perhaps a bit tasteless, German comedian.  He launched lawsuits in Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerlands.  Only in Germany he received an audience by politicians who pushed for silencing their own citizens in support of the dictator.

Facebook and Twitter helped these trends, there is no doubt about it.  No matter how much they wanted to deny it or ignore it initially.  They forbade pictures of classic Greek statues and paintings from the Renaissance if they offended some religious desire – but hate speech,  even illegal hate speech was entirely ok to them.  We now know that it was because they made good money with it.  The bot factories paid precious advertising dollars.  Art lovers who shared a beautiful Botticelli painting could not compete with the foreign dictators’ budgets. People who portrayed rape scenes were okay, women’s nipples were not.  When questioned in Germany, they arrogantly proclaimed that the Facebook police were run out of India, thus not subject to German law. Only when Merkel got so frustrated by the public furor that she promised to shut the site down altogether,  was she able to get Zuckerberg’s attention.

Now in Germany they are working on a “Facebook-Gesetz” – a law that is targeting social media companies. the law is meant to stop social media companies from spreading illegal hate speech.  The German press is concerned that while there is an attempt to create such a law, it is far from certain that there will be such a law. Political infighting points that in Germany freedom of speech and the fight against hate speech vs. mob rule attitudes are literally at odds.

While politicians are discussing the pros and cons of the formulation it is up to Facebook to keep order “voluntarily.”  In German fashion, they don’t seem to care if they tacitly allow hate speech free reign while they fight about the way the law is worded.

Thankfully, there definitely have been some improvements as the top management of Facebook finally is starting to become aware that they may be destroying Western Civilization by allowing “free speech” to extremists, while being responsive to complaints by extremists whose goal is quite literally to abolish the Freedoms of  Western Culture as we know it.

Facebook informs us:  “We are also experimenting with changes to help us more efficiently detect and stop inauthentic accounts at the time they are being created.”  

Hopefully this is a priority and completed before the next elections.  Trump fans are right that Western Civilization is under attack, mostly by ourselves.  Business leaders will ultimately decide whether democracy will survive. Business leaders are pro democracy and those who are against democracy will decide our future as they deploy artificial intelligence who write programs which determine how we will be able perceive our world now and in the future.

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Trump Country – An Update Report

President Trump
President Trump, courtesy Politico

During the past five months of Trump being in charge 863,000 jobs were created. During the same period last year 955,000 jobs were added while Obama was still in office.  On July 5th this year, Gallup reported: “Last week, Americans’ confidence in the economy averaged a score of 0, the first time in the 33 full weeks since the presidential election that the index’s weekly average was not positive. ” Full Report

In a recent NYT article of Today, half of American jobs pay about $37,000 or less each year, a quarter pay about $23,000 or less, and a family of four qualifies for SNAP at $32,000 or less. No wonder just over half of all SNAP families work, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. In America, “real” poverty is not about a lack of work, but a lack of compensation.

Trump has run on a platform of addressing this issue by “Making America Great Again” by creating jobs.  So far this has not come to pass and slowly the public are losing faith in his “Art of the Deal.”

The US is in trouble it is no longer the land of the free and it is not the land of opportunity.  Our research shows that in many respects it never had been.  

National Conference of State Legislatures shares that in Oklahoma the minimum wage in 2017 is $2.00 per hour.

Oklahoma Employers of ten or more full time employees at any one location and employers with annual gross sales over $100,000 irrespective of number of full time employees are subject to federal minimum wage; all others are subject to state minimum wage of $2.00 (OK ST T. 40 § 197.5).  National Conference of State Legislatures.

How can people survive and pursue their happiness on wages like that? Meanwhile the cost of living index in Tulsa Oklahoma is only 24.42% lower than in New York City.

  • Four-person family monthly costs: 2,790.93$ without rent (using our estimator).
  • A single person monthly costs: 807.71$ without rent.
  • Cost of living index in Tulsa is 27.42% lower than in New York.
  • Cost of living rank 215th out of 507 cities in the world.

Realtor.com suggests that a 1 to 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in Tulsa costs between $526 to $2,280 dollars per month which is of course much lower than the monthly rents in NYC $2,815 for 340 sq ft up to $22,000 for 2400 sq ft, or the San Francisco monthly rents of $2,815 for 340 sq ft to $13,500 for 2240 sq ft. The minimum wage is $9.20 to $11.00 depending on employer size in NYC and $14.00 per hour in San Francisco as of the time of this article. It is impossible to find a decent place to live on a minimum wage and it is little wonder that people who were raised believing in the American Dream are turning to suicide as a solution to their life issues at record numbers.

Housing Crisis and Fraud at all time high

Countries with a strong middle class are economically strong.  Only after owners and investor of large companies, and political policies support a strong middle class will the country stop the trend toward becoming a third world nation.

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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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Travel industry will suffer, consumer prices will go up, cyber crime will go through the roof.

No more laptops on planes with the US as destiny

Making America great and relaxed again. Cut off from the world and with diminished numbers of enthusiastic  international business people bringing money and customers to the US the economy will suffer. Perhaps Americans should embrace the Amish life style?  Plant a garden and live life without any connection to the crazy media world?

But since when there is a will there is a way, government sponsored terrorists will simply use private Jet Planes. They are terrorists and they are funded, ironically by countries who have often held long and close relationships with the US government.  Europeans are not on the top lists of global terrorists.  They are too busy working, drinking beer at local festivals and going to the opera.

As international business people are forced to use public cloud systems, cyber crime will rise to an all time high. Which is a risk that many companies will not wish to deal with.

When computer illiterate people are in charge this may seem like a good idea, since they are completely unaware of the unintended consequences.

As imports are strangled and business customers can’t shop in the US anymore in a convenient way, both B2B and consumer prices will skyrocket. It may create local jobs for some of the basics.  There is always perfect balance in the world. Gardening equipment will go up as people have to grow their own food, due to loss of income.

Business internationally will be forced to reorient and Jean-Claude Juncker who recently got in trouble for stating that the “English language” is loosing its importance – just may become right with the help of some computer illiterate leaderships around the world.

It probably would be less costly and much more effective to just have a public relations campaign that promotes: “Buy Made in the USA” or “Assembled in the USA” products.

The fall out of such a decision will negatively affect the travel industry, tech industry, most exports, and it will practically force nations around the world to deal with each other and forgo business with the US, until this country’s business leadership comes to their senses.  While corporations are people and they can clearly sponsor anyone into power, they have chosen some real doozies lately.  They have eroded the middle class to an all time low since World War II.

The people in charge seem not to realize that trade is a two-way street. You cut off one way and you automatically cut off the other way as well. There are a lot of nations who will love to step in to fill the void.  US lifestyles will suffer but international business people from around the world will always find a place to their investment dollars.

Out of 7,347,000,000 there are only about 321,000,000 Americans and only about 58 Million Brits. That means that over 7 Billion people and their business élites are not controlled by the US government. The reason why the US and England were so successful in the past, is that they were fairminded business people who wanted to create mutually beneficial financial relationships.  Clearly that is no longer celebrated or even supported by the US government, except in genuinely international businesses like Space Travel and the development of life in space.  NASA is entering into more and more genuinely international relationships as the support in the US is diminishing since several administrations in a row.

International business execs are not controlled by anyone, since the can simply move to another country that is more supportive of their business ventures. I imagine this will be great news for Canada, Scandinavia, Brasil, and of course China, Vietnam, Japan, and India, and even Russia and the ex-Soviet States as the Silk Road gains importance.  Enterprising Europeans will look elsewhere for business that is enjoyable and profitable.  Theresa May was annoyed when Jean-Claude Juncker snubbed her about the English language loosing importance.  And he is often quite arrogant!  But unfortunately lately his arrogance is not entirely unreasonable and occasionally even understandable.

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Access your mobile phone with your performance eyewear

Liberty Sports partners with Avaya
Liberty Sports partners with Avaya

Liberty Sport Shoots for the Moon with Avaya Midmarket Solutions

SANTA CLARA, CA–(Marketwired – May 02, 2017) – As Liberty Sport grew into a dominant force in the performance eyewear industry and a choice for NASA missions, the company needed a new approach to communications and customer service to mirror the high quality of its products. Called to join the mission, Avaya Midmarket Solutions provided the functionality, mobility and remote accessibility that enables Liberty Sport to execute powerful launches with sustained contact at a level the company had not experienced before.

Significant growth brought Liberty Sport to a crossroads. It had to decide whether to support increasing demand by upgrading its existing solution from an Avaya competitor, or to consider solutions from other vendors. The company elected to change course once Avaya Midmarket Solutions came into the picture with unified communications and contact center support. Avaya offered functionality and efficiency that made an upgrade of their existing solution pale in comparison. Ultimately, the new Avaya solutions enabled Liberty Sport to:

  • Integrate with existing systems so agents are better informed when working with customers.
  • Increase scalability to handle more customers with better service quality.
  • Enhance mobility for traveling executives and managers, allowing them to use their smartphones to seamlessly access calls and messages sent to their company extension.
  • Provide better remote access for and oversight of work-at-home agents. When a major snowstorm caused some to lose power at their homes, agents were able to continue working from any location where they could get Internet access through a wifi connection.
  • Generate real-time and historic reports that enable better staffing strategies and performance improvements among the agent workforce. Management can view peak call times and adjust staffing as needed, which has already resulted in different shift hours. This will also lead to more revenue as agents are placed in roles where they can generate sales.
  • Significantly improved voice quality throughout the organization.

Liberty Sport Vice President Robin Young said:

“When I saw how much reporting functionality Avaya would give us, that’s what made me go this route. What Avaya offered was still more than what the upgraded system would give us. Avaya is always staying above the cusp, always striving to improve their products.”

Learn more about Liberty Sport and the company’s implementation of Avaya Midmarket Solutions in the case study.

About Liberty Sport

For nearly a century, Liberty Sport has been producing superior frames and lenses to handle the rigors of sport. Built to perform under demanding conditions, our products set the global standard for sports eyewear and Rx. From leading ASTM F803 impact sports protective to innovative sun technology, our commitment to research and innovation is unrivaled. And you’ll see that commitment in every product we make.

About Avaya

Avaya enables the mission critical, real-time communication applications of the world’s most important operations. As the global leader in delivering superior communications experiences, Avaya provides the most complete portfolio of software and services for contact center and unified communications with integrated, secure networking- offered on premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid. Today’s digital world requires some form of communications enablement, and no other company is better positioned to do this than Avaya. For more information, please visit www.avaya.com.

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Tillerson is a sidelined Fake “Secretary of State” – who runs the country?

Tillerson sidelined and replaced by two financial oligarchs who are working for their personal and family’s fortunes and Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster who is meant to be a National Security Advisor. If he is an advisor why is the Secretary of State sidelined? What is their agenda?

So the US is now run by Real Estate Mogul Jared Kushner – who has is still involved in major real estate deals – contrary to the earlier press releases.

Gary Cohn, ex Goldman Sachs president, who still managers nearly 1 Million shares of Goldman Sachs, essentially still working for Goldman Sachs.

In a NYT article Kate Kelly on JAN. 25, 2017:
“Goldman Sachs has rewarded its departing president, Gary D. Cohn, with expedited access to cash and stock payments valued at nearly $300 million, and in doing so has tacitly encouraged another of its executives to accept an influential role in Washington. Late on Tuesday, Mr. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council advising President Trump, disclosed in a securities filing that he and his family members had received ownership that day of 940,908 shares of Goldman stock — a position valued at nearly $220 million. That award came in addition to a cash payout, announced the same day, amounting to about $65 million, leaving him with a total windfall of about $285 million.”

Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, National Security Advisor, replaced Michael Flynn who apparently turned out to be a foreign agent and working for Putin, together with Carter Page, Giuliani, Sessions, Kushner and many others.

What is the agenda?  Is there an agenda other than setting up more Trump and Kushner properties, under threat of a Military invasion or Financial Blackmail.  With Trump wanting to get rid of all the “bad hombres”  clearly the meeting was not meant to be friendly. Or, is the “bad hombres” fake news, merely meant to distract us of the biggest Oligarch take over of our country.

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Amid questions about ethics Andy Pudzer withdraws himself from nomination for Secretary of Labor

Pudzer who is responsible for such misogynist ads, withdraws over conflicts
Pudzer who is responsible for such misogynist ads, withdraws over conflicts

Puzder who fought for lower minimum wages or automation in the fast food industry finally realized that even some Republicans are more pro-worker than he planned to be.  He has been sued numerous time for underpaying workers, which is illegal.  The Labor Department claimed that in 2,561,000 earned $7.25 or less per hour.  Please note that all minimum wage workers who live in states with a higher minimum wage than the Federal Minimum wage rate are not even included in the statistics. Chart

Puzder fights against raising the minimum wage for his workers while paying himself more very well.  Meanwhile, according to CKE’s final public disclosure after going private—Puzder made more than $4 million in salary and bonuses.

Mother Jones reported in December:  “Back in 2004, the company agreed to pay $9 million to settle claims that it had not paid overtime to store managers. In 2013, CKE was hit with a class-action suit for “allegedly failing to pay its general managers overtime, even while requiring them to be on call 24 hours a day,” reports Law 360.”

In response to the proposal to raise minimum wage, Puzder vowed to replace workers with machines. This is what he sarcastically said about machines: “They’re always polite, they always up sell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.”

Donald J. Trump strongly defends Andrew F. Puzder, his chosen secretary of labor who is an outspoken critic of the worker protections enacted by the Obama administration.  Trump, accused under oath of raping his first wife, defends Puzder and claims that he is treated “unfairly.”  Really?

Puzder’s ex-wife Lisa Henning was terribly abused by him. She said that Puzder  in a widely reported interview that “attacked me, choked me, threw me to the floor, hit me in the head, pushed his knees into my chest, twisted my arm and dragged me on the floor, threw me against a wall, tried to stop my call to 911 and kicked me in the lower back,” according to a 1989 Riverfront Times article.

At last Puzder withdrew his name from the nomination.

Now that Trump, Bannon and Puzder had been accused of spousal abuse, we really need to start wondering.  We know that the best predictor for terrorist is a history of family violence.  Hmmm.  Maybe we need to look at our government through the lens of Domestic Violence.  Article

 

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Good Guy Billionaire: Who is Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg?

Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg
Priscilla Chan Zuckerberg

Ms. Priscilla Chan is a former grade school teacher and a recent medical school graduate training to become a pediatrician.  She has a strong commitment to health and put’s her wealth toward the common good. Her parents came as refugees to seek a better life.  Now she is one of the top Billionaires who is committed to make life better for everyone.

In an interview with Today, Priscilla Chan recalled: “If you’re the first generation to go to college, sometimes you don’t realize your potential until others point it out.”  For her, those individuals were her public school teachers, whom she credits for “getting me excited about learning.”   Priscilla spoke Cantonese growing up, learned English in school and life, and studied Spanish to server her patients better.

Her commitment to health is genuine and unsurpassed.  She met her husband Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard where they were first class mates and later they dated.  They dated for 10 years before deciding to get married to form their family.

She and her husband donated $600 Million dollars through her charity organization CZI to create a Biohub together with University of California at San Francisco, Stanford University and University of California at Berkeley, which will be headquartered next to UCSF’s Mission Bay
campus in San Francisco.

She is an amazing woman who is one of the best examples of what America genuinely stands for.  Immigrants who seek a better life and in turn make life for the rest of Americans a better place.  Thank you Ms. Chan Zuckerberg for sharing your big heart, brilliant mind, and wealth for the greater good.

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Charter School Fraud is rampant and proven and now we have dubious DeVos

Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)
Estimated Enrollment Trends in Full-Time Virtual Schools. (National Education Policy Center)
The National Education Association expresses deep concerns

A recent study provided that only 41% of Cyber Schools were deemed “academically acceptable.”  The graduation rate on private Cyber Schools was less than half of that of brick & mortar public schools.  So why is the new head of education so interested in providing an easy platform of proven tax dollar theft?

This is not “liberal hysteria”  this is a genuine concern based on real facts.

California

Jessica Calefati of the San Jose Mercury News provided in-depth research about the for profit company K12 Inc. which lead to a $168.5 Million settlement with California. There are proven claims that the Virginia-based Charter School manipulated attendance records and overstated its students’ success.  The SJMN stated in its article: “Harris’ office found that K12 and the 14 California Virtual Academies used deceptive advertising to mislead families about students’ academic progress, parents’ satisfaction with the program and their graduates’ eligibility for University of California and California State University admission.”  Over a twelve year period the fraudster charged the State of California $310 Million dollars.

Despite these findings the Atlantic Monthly reports:

“DeVos invested in the online charter-school operator K12, which targeted the growing home school market. But K12’s overly expansive business model made it both significantly less profitable and more prone to regulatory and operating deficiencies than smaller, less ideologically driven competitors. K12 still trades below its IPO price from 2007. K12 was one of dozens of companies originally backed by Michael Milken’s ambitiously named Knowledge Universe, as part of an expansive effort to revolutionize education.”

Pennsylvania

Account Neal Prence, 61, admitted guilt in defrauding the government by helping with illegal accounting practices.  AP reported that Nicholas Trombetta, 61, acknowledged using the school’s money to fund a lavish lifestyle, including buying a Florida condominium, homes for his girlfriend and mother and a jet airplane, while socking most of the money away for retirement.  Trombetta used Avanti Management Group, the National Network of Digital Schools and other companies Trombetta also created to perpetrate the scheme.   The fraud was uncovered thanks to the tireless work of the FBI.

What seems surprising is that despite the fact that they absconded admittedly with $8 Million dollars the maximum sentence the law allows is:  “The law provides for a maximum total sentence of 100 years in prison, a fine of $3,250,000, or both for Trombetta and five years’ imprisonment, $250,000, or both for Prence. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant. Assistant United States Attorneys James R. Wilson, Robert S. Cessar and Stephen R. Kaufman are prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.”    More

Ohio

Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow lost appeal to allow the state to audit the attendance of their online charter school.  The Columbia Dispatch reported on November 13, 2016:  “ECOT could not substantiate nearly 60 percent of full-time students were getting the minimum 920 hours of “learning opportunities” required by the state, meaning the state could ask the school to repay more than $60 million of the $106 million it received in state funding last year. Eight other smaller e-schools also were unable to justify their reported enrollment totals.”   It seems House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, was not worried about ECOT or Ohio’s other online schools potentially defrauding Ohio.  He simply excused their behavior by saying:  “There are always two sides to the story.”  His comment implies that there may be many more sides than that. Why would a House Speaker support Ohio citizens being defrauded?

These are only very few examples.  Now with DeVos and her side kick Jerry Fallwell Jr. in charge of “education” we can be sure there will be many more major thefts.  We are now in the era that US founders wanted to avoid:

It is 49 words in Article I of the Constitution.

“No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

And the Congress is working feverishly on abolishing the oversight office of ethics to aid the business interests of their now fellow leaders. Here is a great link to a speech Walter M. Shaub, Director, U.S. Office of Government Ethics, gave at the Brookings Institute in January 2017.  Link

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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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