Is 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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Joyce Gordon Gallery presents Art by Chukes and music by Miguel Y Los Buenos Ensemble

Join art and music lovers on Friday, September 29th 6-9pm for the Closing Reception of “Identity Theft” featuring live music by Miguel Y Los Buenos Ensemble.

“IDENTITY THEFT” 
featuring new works by Chukes
August 4 – September 30, 2017
Closing Reception: Friday, September 29th 
6-9pm
Special guest Miguel y Los Buenos is a 3-piece Acoustic band featuring strings, vocals, bass and percussion. A unique blend of acoustic salsa, playing 100% original songs by guitarist/vocalist Miguel Bennu.

Joyce Gordon Gallery is a commercial fine art gallery located in the downtown district of Oakland, California. It exhibits art that reflects the social and cultural diversity of the Bay Area and international artists. The aim of the gallery is to respect the creative pursuits of the individual and seeks to make such work accessible to a broad audience.


 Gallery Hours:
Wed – Fri: 11-6pm | Sat:  1-5pm Sun: by appointment

 

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Artist Highlight – Uriel Dana

Birds of a Feather Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 14″, 2015, by Uriél Dana. © 2015 Uriél Dana. Featured painting at the Carousel de Louvre Exhibition, Paris, November 2015.
Birds of a Feather
Oil on Canvas, 18″ x 14″, 2015, by Uriél Dana. © 2015 Uriél Dana.
Featured painting at the Carousel de Louvre Exhibition, Paris, November 2015.

She is a member of the Portrait Painters of America and her current work is inspired by San Francisco’s nouveau cirque culture.


The Chinese have a saying that we are a house with four rooms (Mental, Spiritual, Physical and Creative) but most people spend their time in only one. I spend time every day in each of those rooms. I learn something new every day, I meditate every day, I paint or write every day, and I exercise every day.
——————————————————————– Uriel Dana


She was married to the world renowned painter Gage Taylor under whom she initially studied.  They collaborated for 17 years until Mr. Taylor’s untimely passing.    She is a painter, an art restorer, public speaker, and a USA Ambassador for the Arts.

Her oil paintings and drawings are part of dozens of private, corporate, and celebrity art collections. Her oils, gouache, and lost wax bronze work have been shown in 12 countries on 4 continents. On her journey she has visited 44 countries and even lived on 3 continents.  She writes articles, edits books, and has been published as a poet. She also directed a film or two.  

In October 2015, two of her paintings were selected for the Carousel de Louvre exhibition in Paris.  Uriel Dana’s artist profile was  presented in the catalogue Modern Art Masters in Complex Musée du Louvre.   

She is an avid supporter of amazing artists from all around the world.   Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook.  Your life will be enriched. For more about Uriel Dana and how to buy her paintings or prints, visit:

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Rolando Morales Update for September 2017

¡Hola, Mi Gente!

I’ve been working day and night putting tech and everything else together for some big private and public shows throughout the Bay Area and beyond.  Thursday we’re doing a big private show up in St. Helena.  Then a couple days up near Lake Tahoe for more private shows.  Then all the way down again to Woodside for yet another private event.  It’s good to be in demand!  I put on four new tires on my car to ensure a safer week.

I broke up the intense prep work with a couple short but majestic hikes through the Oakland Hills near my house.  It’s nice to see Oakland continue to reveal her surprises.  Redwoods, eucalyptus, lakes…  Am I in the Sierras?  Naw, it’s just Oakland.

The public shows won’t begin until next week when I do my first Friday night Danville show at Maria, Maria in almost half a year on September 8.

But the noteworthy show is a great little festival happening on September 92-6pm.  My friends at the Women Entrepreneurs of Los Altos invited my band to play for the WE Vibe Block Party on the 100 Block of First Street in Los Altos.  I’ll be there with my All-Star Quintet putting on two shows.  We’ll also have my favorite flamenco troop “Caminos Flamencos” putting on a passionate show.  Details.

Other highlights this month include my duet on Mexican Independence Day, 16 de Septiembre with my Latin percussionist-vocalist and Sista-From-Anotha-Mista, Estaire Godinez at the Pairings Cellars in Pleasanton.  This will be the first time I do a duet at this venue and you know we’ll light it up.

I’ll also be doing a special duet on Saturday September 23 at The Vine at Bridges with the great violinist Carlos Reyes.  This will be the first time we’re able to do this together here in 2 years, so don’t miss it!  Details below.

Last, be informed that I’m debuting on Fridays September 22 AND 29 at Havana in Walnut Creek, a fine Cuban restaurant, bar and now, Live Music venue.  I’ve only done private off-site work for them in the past, and this will mark the first public in-house appearances in our history.  Swing by!  Details below.

And speaking of Walnut CreekMaria, Maria has abruptly ended their Sunday afternoon shows about 5 weeks earlier than usual.  This year’s strange weather, alternating between unusually cold and windy to intolerably hot has kept patrons off the patio, hurting their sales, so I’ll just do occasional weekends at both their restaurants depending on our schedules.  No more Sundays this season.  So now you know.

See you at the show!

Ciao,

Rolando

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Mark your calendar! This Friday Rolando Morales will perform in Brentwood’s CoCo County Winebar

Coco's Winebar presents Rolando Morales on Friday, August 11, 2017 between 7 - 10pm
Coco’s Winebar presents Rolando Morales on Friday, August 11, 2017 between 7 – 10pm

Friday Aug 11CoCo County Wine Bar, 633 First Street, Brentwood CA, 7-10pm.  Rolando makes his public debut at Brentwood’s Premier Wine Tasting Bar in the downtown retail district.   Rolando never gets out in this area publicly, so you far-east Bay fans, don’t miss this rare opportunity!  www.cocowineco.com,   (925) 634-9463.

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Rolando Morales performs at Maria Maria in Danville tomorrow Tuesday August 8, 2017

Rolando Morales performs at Maria, Maria in Danville Tuesday July 11
Rolando Morales performs at Maria, Maria in Danville Tuesday – August 8, 2017

Tuesday Aug 8Maria, Maria Cantina, 710 Camino Ramon Road, Danville CA, approx. 6-9pm.  After a month away, Rolando finally returns to Carlos Santana’s Danville restaurant for Taco Tuesday $1 tacos, baby!  And Rolando on solo guitar and voice with his diverse repertoire performing out on the patio by the fire pits.  (925) 820-2366.  See www.mariamariarestaurants.com (925) 820-2366.

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Time to think? Universities are starting to self reflect on their contribution to our culture.

Widener Library on Harvard Campus
Widener Library on Harvard Campus
Is the time-honored tradition of Fraternities and Sororities coming to an end?

A committee announced on Wednesday, July 13, 2017, that they recommend that  Harvard completely forbid students from joining “fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations.” They feel so strongly about it that they wish to replace existing penalties for members of the social groups that are set to go into place in the fall.

Harvard is not the first University who is grappling with the problems caused by these “private” clubs.  Amherst College, Bowdoin College, and Williams College all prohibited undergraduate participation in fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations in recent years.

Undergraduate Council Vice President Cameron K. Khansarinia, class of 2018 said the proposed policy completely “takes away personal responsibility and choice” from College students—and that it is unlikely to be effective.  “It’s simply going to either force [the clubs] underground or literally dry out any semblance of social life on campus,” Khansarinia said. “It’s really not the right way to go about this.”

The faculty needs to guide Harvard into the present-day realities and prepare students for life in a gender neutral world.  This is an issue that needs to be addressed in most traditional colleges and society at large.

Department of Labor Statistic about workforce participation by sex.
Department of Labor Statistic about workforce participation by sex.

Several of the social clubs, for instance the “Fly Club”  are seeking legal council on how they can fight the effort.

Statistics about rape point in a direction that something really needs to be done.
Rainn provides data that shows that sexual violence on campus is pervasive.

    • 11.2% of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students).2
    • Among graduate and professional students, 8.8% of females and 2.2% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
    • Among undergraduate students, 23.1% of females and 5.4% of males experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.2
    • 4.2% of students have experienced stalking since entering college.

Student or not, college-age adults are at high risk for sexual violence.

    • Male college-aged students (18-24) are 78% more likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.1
    • Female college-aged students (18-24) are 20% less likely than non-students of the same age to be a victim of rape or sexual assault.
University culture have a profound impact on overall culture around the world.

In June the Harvard Crimson reported:

Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten prospective members of the Class of 2021 after the students traded sexually explicit memes and messages that sometimes targeted minority groups in a private Facebook group chat.

A handful of admitted students formed the messaging group—titled, at one point, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”—on Facebook in late December, according to two incoming freshmen.

In the group, students sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, according to screenshots of the chat obtained by The Crimson. Some of the messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines directed at specific ethnic or racial groups. One called the hypothetical hanging of a Mexican child “piñata time.”

No one would dispute that people who engage in threatening deaths and child abuse and find it humorous or in anyway acceptable should not be let loose on society, much less on a top notch educational institution.

Is it time to think yet?

The “Fly Club” an all male institution retained an attorney who made some interesting points in an op-ed in 2016.   Silvergate:

"The report acknowledged the correlation between alcohol-fueled partying and sexual assault, which we believe implies that forcing independent organizations to go co-ed would only lead to an increase in the high-risk encounters that lead to assaults. Their proposed alternative is to create a blacklist of non-complying organizations, thereby abridging the freedom of association—a bedrock principle of our nation’s constitution—for its very own students.

This latter course of action is particularly galling: Harvard appears to be moving towards a policy that would expel students simply for membership in a club, while it simultaneously fails to properly adjudicate sexual assault cases. The University is blaming an entire class of students for the condemnable and illegal conduct of a small minority—a clearly backwards approach to community safety."

He later goes on to state:

"We are witnessing a return to the College operating in loco parentis, as it attempts to both dictate social-sexual norms and limit students’ independence. Harvard bureaucrats continue to expand their numbers while also attempting to bring independent single-sex organizations, including the Final Clubs and the growing number of Greek letter organizations, under their control, if not to eliminate them entirely.

Unlike past debates about sexual mores and student liberty at the College, undergraduate students appear unperturbed by, if not supportive of, this assertion of administrative control over their private lives, while the Faculty of Arts and Sciences seems to have little influence with regards to the issue. The administration is leveraging the current political climate to achieve policy goals that will unfortunately do little to prevent sexual assault, but will certainly make Harvard more illiberal."

In my opinion there is much to think about and the trend to have “Big Brother” forbid you to get drunk and rape people instead of encouraging public debates that allow a culture of inclusion, respect and with humanistic values to thrive voluntarily, is a debate that does and should go on and on until we all live in a free society in which everyone is safe from assault, and free to excel at their own personal highest level.

Equality in a society where women make up more than 1/2 of the work force is a must have.  Being able to feel safe is a need that both women and men should be able to enjoy.  How to accomplish that reality should really become part of the public debate.  Forbidding public gatherings of like minded people may just drive the activity underground and it may be unconstitutional. Eliminating “wanna be” and actual racists and rapists should be a must for every educational institution.  Racists and Rapists need therapy not more easy access to victims.  However driving racist and misogynist attitudes underground may not be a long term solution for our society either.

When studying Victor Frankl someone who has experienced the worst of human kind in person while he was incarcerated by Nazis during the Holocaust, we may learn that we have to raise our expectations of each other and teach our young future leaders to thrive and foster their wish and their ability to create “Lives with Meaning”, people who are happy and content while working on making life better for everyone. This is what moves people to feel content.  Busy and content leaders don’t have time to be jerks.  Most jerks are either unhappy and insecure or are pathologically damaged. As we know from some of our current public leaders being a jerk does not make you popular and the ill manners actually make people more lonely and give them a craving for attention and love that will stay unfulfilled. Nobody likes these lonely jerk or brute. We have to aim higher for our students. We need to encourage them to be the better.

Maybe it is time to bring back the education that is deeply rooted in the Humanities that sets the aim high and encourages students to create a better world.

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Rolando Morales and Estaire Godinez perform at The Vine at Bridges in Danville, Saturday July 15, 2017

Enjoy your inner rhythm and share it with your friends.

Saturday July 15, Vine at Bridges, 480 Hartz Avenue, Danville, approx 8-11pmThe Rolando Morales Duet returns to this cool winery and nightspot.  Enjoy a wonderful selection of wines, superb dinners and tapas while grooving to this powerful duet.  Tonight Rolando welcomes the exciting Latin percussionist-vocalist Estaire Godinez, who played with George Benson and Prince; and on guitar, voice and his pedal board of magic, the passionate Rolando Morales.  It’s been close to half a year since they’ve done this.  Don’t miss it!  www.thevineatbridges.com(925) 820-7210.

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Staying calm when times of stress. Techniques that work.

Enjoy your inner rhythm and share it with your friends.
Enjoy your inner rhythm and share it with your friends.

Neuro-plasticity is the reason why we are able to learn and modify our responses to life’s events.  Over the past few decades many forms of therapy have been developed and practiced.  Over the past decade through new technology, gene therapy, and applied nano-technology we now know in no uncertain terms that the mind and body are linked.  The body is able to influence the mind and the mind is able to influence the body.

Dr. van der Kolk suggests that all effective treatments involve some way for people to learn to recognize when they change their arousal system. When a person learns how to become aware if they get upset, learns to take 60 breaths, focuses on the out breaths, they are able to calm both their brain right down.  We are able to choose to engage in soothing techniques like pressing on acupressure points. A most effective methods to calm frayed nerves are walks in nature.  The earlier in life children learn how to recognize that they are upset, that their heart is beating hard or irregularly, that their breath is short, the sooner they can be taught to engage in effective self soothing behavior.  It is wonderful that our children learn early in life how to calm down, practice yoga, go for soothing walks in nature.

Now that we are certain about the human mind’s ability to learn at every age everyone is able to learn and to engage in healthy self-moderating behaviors with positive effect.  After learning how to recognize that we are growing upset, and how to calm ourselves down when we get upset we can progress to the next step.

Learning how to avoid getting upset

The core idea of Dr. van der Kolk’s teaching is that we recognize that we are not a victim of what happens. We are able to do things to change our own thoughts. The new applied sciences in medicine overturn the mistaken belief that if we can’t stand something, we should just take a pill and make it go away.  The best treatment is to realize that when something is happening to we it is our own choice how we wish to   interpret the situation.  We can be frightened or we can change the sensations by moving, breathing, tapping, and touching or by avoiding touch. We are in charge of how we feel and we can influence the way we feel physically.  Dr. van der Kolk has devoted his life to creating tools that will provide us with the emotional management tools. Healthy body habits have positive effects on our emotional habits. With practice we become ever more in charge of our own physiological system.  We now know that we can calm ourselves down by talking or through one of the many other processes.  We greatly benefit from programs that provide us with empowerment.  Physical impact, like model mugging (a form of self-defense training), martial arts or kickboxing, or an activity that requires a range of physical effort teaches us to actually defend ourselves, stand up for ourselves, and to literally feel the power in our bodies are very effective. We can retrain our emotions to realize that we have power and we are not victims or our fate.

Dr. van der Kolk, M.D., teaches that to realize that we are not victims of circumstance. We are capable to focus our attentions on learning how to express ourselves better.  When we learn how to effectively communicate our feelings, we are impacted by other people’s behavior we engage in a positive way with others.  One way to learn is to share our feelings and  to seek out therapy to find the proper language for our internal experience. As we become more adept to share our inner life effectively and to learn how to communicate with others, the quality of our lives improves.

Dr. van der Kolk and communications experts teach that most of our communication takes place on the physical plan. We communicate by nodding our heads, we smile, we frown, move, shift our weight and stance. Kids and adults, who were victims of physical abuse and neglect, lose those interpersonal rhythms. As we engage in self soothing behavior and learn to express ourselves we are ready for the last and most fun step. Dancing, listening to music, play music, practice QiGong and find our own rhythm.  Soon our life energy will flow and we will enjoy life.

Dr. van der Kolk, M.D. has been active as a clinician, researcher and teacher in the area of post-traumatic stress and related phenomena since the 1970s. His work integrates developmental, biological, psychodynamic and interpersonal aspects of the impact of trauma and its treatment. His book Psychological Trauma was the first integrative text on the subject, painting the far ranging impact of trauma on the entire person and the range of therapeutic issues which need to be addressed for recovery.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk has been involved in creating tools for stress reduction. Learn more by  Publications and Products

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Friday July 14, 2017 Rolando Morales performs at Pairings Cellars, Pleasanton.

Rolando Morales performs at Pairings Cellars on July 14
Rolando Morales performs at Pairings Cellars on July 14

Friday July 14Pairings Cellars, 310 Main Street, Pleasanton CA 94566 at  8pm to 11pm.  Rolando returns to this exciting social hotspot in downtown Pleasanton.  This new wine bar features fine wines, tapas and now dinners, as well as Rolando Morales performing his broad repertoire on solo guitar and voice.  Free!  www.pairingscellars.com(925) 398-8846.

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Maria Maria in Danville will enjoy Rolando Morales tomorrow, July 11, 2017

Rolando Morales performs at Maria, Maria in Danville Tuesday July 11
Rolando Morales performs at Maria, Maria in Danville Tuesday July 11

Tuesday July 11, Maria, Maria Cantina, 710 Camino Ramon Road, Danville CA, approx. 6-9pm.  After about nine months(!), Rolando finally returns to Carlos Santana’s Danville restaurant for Taco Tuesday $1 tacos, baby!  And Rolando on solo guitar and voice with his diverse repertoire performing out on the patio by the fire pits. Reservations:  (925) 820-2366.  See www.mariamariarestaurants.com.

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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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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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Save the Date for Joyce Gordon Gallery’s upcoming event: Oakland Youth Art Explosion!

Oakland Youth Arts Explosion!
SAVE THE DATE!
Oakland Youth Art Explosion: 
1st Annual Youth Art Festival  
YAE! 2017
 
Sunday, August 6th, 2017  11:00am – 6pm
Downtown Merchants Parking Garage
1316 Franklin St.
Oakland, CA. 94612

OYAE! (Oakland Youth Art Explosion) 

hosted by Joyce Gordon Foundation of the Arts is a Youth Festival featured and organized by youth and young adults.
ORGANIZERS (just to name a few):
Youth Urban Farm Project, Eastside Art Alliance

Joyce Gordon Foundation of the Arts, Attitudinal Healing Center, Downtown TAY, HHREC, Oakland Unite and You!

YOUTH ART EVENTS (just to name a few)

Hip Hop and Jazz Band Performance, Urban Youth Farmers Market, Live Painting Mural Projects, OYAE Youth Cinema, Dance Group Performances, Spoken Word/Open Mic, Painting Workshop w/ Professional Artists, Youth Art Exhibit (preview in July @Joyce Gordon Gallery) Martial Arts and more!

SPONSORS (just to name a few)
Carmel Partners, Akonadi Foundation, Greenlining Institute, Geoffrey’s InnerCircle, HHREC
           
Joyce Gordon Foundation of the Arts is a nonprofit cultural resource for Oakland and the Bay area community. Committed to the development of artist and enriching the cultural landscape by engaging a diverse group (emerging artist, seniors, veterans, those with disabilities) to dream and work together to bring about positive change while building community.

Joyce Gordon Gallery
406 14th St
Oakland, California 94612
510-465-8928
www.joycegordongallery.com

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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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Nicolas Bearde’s China tour commences May 28, 2017 at Beijing National Theatre

 Nicolas Bearde
Nicolas Bearde

Nicolas Bearde’s China debut performance wll be at the Beijing National Theatre on May 28, with sax legend Vincent Herring. Bassist and promoter for this event, Peng Ji, one of the new generation of Chinese Jazz musicians, received his degree in Jazz bass performance in the Netherlands, and his MA degree from Queens College in New York.

He has also studied with legendary musicians Ron Carter and Antonio Hart, and performed with James Moody, George Cable, Don Braden and the like.  The group also includes, pianist, Moreno Donadel, drummer, Anthony Vanacore and vocalist, Paulette McWilliams.

We wish Nicolas Bearde much enjoyment on his next new adventures in this part of the world.

What an amazing venue!

Beijing National Theatre
Beijing National Theatre

 

 

 

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