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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

40TH ANNIVERSARY OF NIXON’S RESIGNATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 30, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Did Watergate teach us anything?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

August 9th represents the 40th anniversary of the resignation of President Richard Nixon. It seems like yesterday. Nixon was under intense pressure to resign for his involvement in the Watergate scandal. For those of you too young to remember, 1972 was a presidential election year and members of the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP) burglarized the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate Complex in Washington, D.C. with the intent of searching through papers for intelligence and bugging the offices with listening devices. A security guard noticed something unusual and called the police who captured the burglars. Nixon’s role was primarily concerned with the cover up of the break-in. The incident attracted international attention from the press and the country wallowed in outrage and despair for two years.

Former Sen. Howard Baker of Tennessee, who just recently passed away, succinctly framed the issue at hand by asking, “What did the president know and when did he know it?” This brought up the subject of tape recordings of conversations in Nixon’s White House. The president made the recordings for historical purposes, but now they became the center of attention for what they might contain. At first, the president invoked “executive privilege” over the tapes, but the US Supreme Court overruled and ordered him to turn the tapes over to government investigators. The tapes ultimately revealed the president’s involvement in the cover-up. However, there was a gap in one of the tapes. Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s long-time secretary, claimed responsibility for inadvertently erasing up to five minutes in a key audio tape (June 20, 1972).

At the time, both chambers of Congress were controlled by the Democrats. As it became obvious the House was going to file articles of impeachment based on obstruction of justice, the president received a delegation of senior GOP Congressional leaders in the Oval Office on August 7th, including Senator Barry Goldwater. The group told the president his position was untenable and impeachment was likely. Instead of prolonging the problem, and putting the country through a messy impeachment trial, Nixon resigned, thereby elevating Gerald Ford to president.

Three things come to mind when I think back to this affair:

First, Richard Nixon resigned as opposed to burdening the country with more scandal. Bill Clinton did not. Clinton’s scandal was just as messy and embarrassing, maybe more so. Nonetheless, he suffered the embarrassment of impeachment, but escaped prosecution in the Senate trial. American politics hasn’t been quite the same since then.

Second, Rose Mary Wood was accused of deleting five minutes from Nixon’s Watergate tapes which was considered alarming at the time and proof of Nixon’s involvement in the cover-up. Recently, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen revealed two years worth of e-mails of former IRS Director Lois Lerner and six others were lost allegedly due to malfunctioning computer backup equipment. Lerner was key to the IRS scandal which targeted Tea Party groups for auditing by the IRS. The deletion of the e-mails was considered too “coincidental” for Congressional investigators. Suddenly, Wood’s five minute gap seems miniscule when compared to the loss of thousands of e-mails.

Third, the press went after Nixon viciously in 1974. They had despised him since he was vice president under Eisenhower in the 1950’s (see “Checkers speech”). Remarkably, the mainstream media of today shows little interest in the IRS scandal, just the antithesis of the Watergate investigation. One can only ask why? Is it possible the press favors one political party over another? Hmm…

Finally, when I traveled overseas on business years ago, I had several clients ask me about Nixon and Watergate. They thought Nixon was a good president and were stunned we had turned him out for something they considered trivial and insignificant. Whether I was in the UK, Norway, Spain, Brazil, Japan or wherever, they all thought Nixon should have taken the tapes and burned them on the White House lawn.

I wonder what their take would be today on such things as the IRS and VA scandals, Benghazi, Fast & Furious, etc. Knowing their unfavorable disposition about Mr. Obama, I believe I know what their answer would be.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  THE WHITE LINE – What does this parable tell us about ourselves?

LAST TIME:  SENATORS AND THE 17TH AMENDMENT  – No Virginia, senators were not always elected “by the people.”

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

SENATORS AND THE 17TH AMENDMENT

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 28, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- No Virginia, senators were not always elected “by the people.”

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Most Americans today are unaware U.S. Senators were not always elected by the people. According to the articles of the Constitution, senators were elected by state legislators, not the people or governor. This all changed with the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913, just over one hundred years ago. Why the change? Believe it or not, corruption in our electoral process. Sound familiar?

Let’s begin by understanding the purpose of the Senate. Our bicameral Congress consists of two chambers, the House of Representatives is intended to represent the people. Their term limit is just two years. The Senate though was modeled after the Senate of Ancient Rome, whereby the elders and affluent citizens would take a more global view of the problems at hand. This is similar to Parliament in the United Kingdom where there is a House of Commons (for the people) and a House of Lords (representing affluence). Senators are elected to six year terms as opposed to two years.

In addition to reviewing and approving the laws as passed by the House, the Senate also reviews and approves treaties, and confirms appointments of the cabinet, ambassadors, judges, and various other federal officials, all as part of the “checks and balances” of our government. They also conduct trials of impeached federal officials, such as the president, with the last being in 1999 with the impeachment of President Clinton.

On paper, the concept of Senators being elected by state legislatures is a good one. As the legislatures changed in political makeup, from Democrat to Republican for example, the senators will inevitably change. In the early days there were a few senators who served multiple terms, but not like today’s senators who serve upwards to fifty years (e.g., Byrd and Kennedy). In other words, term limits were not necessary. Further, it was believed senators would be more inclined to serve the best interests of their states as they were elected by their own state assemblies. At least, that was the theory.

Throughout most of the 19th century though, corruption crept into the senate electoral process. Some people tried to buy the office by giving gifts and favors to members of the state legislatures. This included some of the big monopolies of the day who wanted to have “their man” elected, who would be expected to return favors. The 17th Amendment though changed all of this by turning the vote over to the people. By doing so, state legislators were cut out of the money bonanza. It should be noted, the amendment was also used to fill senate vacancies, which is now done by temporary appointment of the governor.

So, what has changed in the last 100 years? Whereas the state legislators were the target for bribery, now it can be argued it is just the senators who are the object of desire by lobbyists, not just at the state level either, but by national and multinational corporations. In other words, not much has really changed with the passing of the 17th Amendment other than a redirection of payola.

Somehow, I still prefer the concept of having the state legislatures electing the Senators, if for no other reason than to assure they will change over time as the state assemblies change, thereby thwarting the concept of professional politicians. As to the corruption issue, this will remain a constant problem until such time as the American people get serious about electoral reform, which will probably be never. At least the payola can be spread around the state as opposed to just one person.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  40TH ANNIVERSARY OF NIXON’S RESIGNATION – Did Watergate teach us anything?

LAST TIME:  PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY’S EFFECT ON AIR TRAVEL  – What I discovered on my flight from Asheville.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

THE OBAMA JUKEBOX

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 23, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The president’s rhetoric has become rather predictable.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

President Obama’s speeches have become rather routine and predictable. They remind me of a jukebox, a device from a bygone era, whereby you put in a quarter, press a numbered button, and hear your selected tune. Smart phones, MP3 players and iPods have since replaced the jukebox, but you get the idea.

I do not believe I have heard anything original from the president in a long time, basically recycled talking points written to illicit Pavlovian responses from his audiences. However, I do not believe people are drooling anymore, at least not according to his recent popularity polls.

To prove my point, I have gone back through many of the president’s speeches and noted his more popular talking points. I am sure you have heard them all before, but what do they mean or how does he use them?

1. OBAMA – “The American people’s hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours. Our obligations are to them. Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
TRANSLATION – “Once I’ve hooked them, I can have my way with them.”

2. OBAMA – “We can’t wait for Congress to do its job. So where they won’t act, I will. We’re going to look every single day to figure out what we can do without Congress.”
TRANSLATION – “I refuse to talk to those idiots in the Congress.”

3. OBAMA – “I’m happy to get good ideas from across the political spectrum, from Democrats and Republicans. What I won’t do is return to the failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place, because those theories have been tested, and they have failed.”
TRANSLATION – “It’s Bush’s fault.”

4. OBAMA – “We can’t change the way Washington works unless we first change how Congress works.”
TRANSLATION – “It’s not me, it’s them, right?”

5. OBAMA – “Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work. There is the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.”
TRANSLATION – “I’m going to make government so big, it will take years and a truckload of elephant guns to bring it back down.”

6. OBAMA – “What our friends on the other side of the aisle do not accept is the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change.”
TRANSLATION – “I am the all-knowing Meteorologist-in-Chief, and don’t you forget it.”

7. OBAMA – “We live in a culture that discourages empathy. A culture that too often tells us our principle goal in life is to be rich, thin, young, famous, safe, and entertained.”
TRANSLATION – “Only I understand the American people, not the evil Republicans.”

8. OBAMA – “Let’s remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe.”
TRANSLATION – “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

9. OBAMA – “I have studied the Constitution as a student; I have taught it as a teacher; I have been bound by it as a lawyer and legislator. America must demonstrate that our values and institutions are more resilient than a hateful ideology.”
TRANSLATION – “And I could really screw up the country more if I didn’t have this hanging around my neck.”

10. OBAMA – “It’s not just enough to change the players. We’ve gotta change the game.”
TRANSLATION – “Constitution be damned.”

11. OBAMA – “We will seek swift and certain justice for captured terrorists – because living our values doesn’t make us weaker, it makes us safer and it makes us stronger.”
TRANSLATION – “Whenever it is politically expedient for me to do so.”

12. OBAMA – “I think the American people have a generous instinct. They understand that we’re a nation of immigrants. But if those folks are going to live in this country, they have to be put on a pathway to citizenship that involves them paying a fine, making sure that they are at the back of the line and not cutting in front of people who applied legally to come into the country.”
TRANSLATION – “Actually, we’re just going to open the floodgates and make them all Democratic voters.”

13. OBAMA – “I’ll be a President who finally brings Democrats and Republicans together to make health care affordable for every single American.”
TRANSLATION – “The check is in the mail.”

14. OBAMA – “As President, I’ll invest in renewable energies like wind power, solar power, and the next generation of homegrown bio fuels.”
TRANSLATION – “And neglect our natural resources thereby making us more dependent on external energy resources than ever before.”

15. OBAMA – “Any strategy to reduce intergenerational poverty has to be centered on work, not welfare–not only because work provides independence and income but also because work provides order, structure, dignity, and opportunities for growth in people’s lives.”
TRANSLATION – “I’m going to quadruple the welfare state and let you pay for it.”

16. OBAMA – “The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth.”
TRANSLATION – “I want to tax you to death.”

17. OBAMA – “In a world that’s more and more interconnected, we all have responsibilities to work together to solve common challenges.”
TRANSLATION – “I’m going to let the terrorists have Iraq.”

18. OBAMA – “Opponents of health reform warn that this is all some big plot for socialized medicine or government-run health care with long lines and rationed care. That’s not true either. I don’t believe that government can or should run health care.”
TRANSLATION – “Thank you, thank you; you’re a great audience. Now, did you hear the one about…”

19. OBAMA – “We cannot build the 21st-century military we need, and maintain the fiscal responsibility that America demands, unless we fundamentally reform the way our defense establishment does business.”
TRANSLATION – “I love it when they salute me and I don’t return it.”

20. OBAMA – “It’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires.”
TRANSLATION – “There, I’ve said it; I’m a Socialist.”

In addition to being predictable, the president’s speeches seem to be saying, “The Congress is a bunch of unreasonable idiots. I am the only one who knows what he is doing. Trust me and I’ll take care of all of your problems, you cattle.” This says a lot about his powers of negotiation.

The president probably doesn’t believe half of what he says, but these are sound bites which have been polished and are easy to remember. The fact they are predictable though, reflects his disregard for the American people. They are also useful as a means to distract people. The only problem is we will likely hear these reruns until the end of his presidency. That’s still two years away.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  PERSONAL TECHNOLOGY’S EFFECT ON AIR TRAVEL – What I discovered on my flight from Asheville.

LAST TIME:  DRESS FOR SUCCESS OR FAILURE?  – What would happen if we instituted a dress code in school…for the teachers?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

OBAMA’S SCORECARD

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 16, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- An excellent representation of the president’s record.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

As you may remember, I spent many years in Little League, coaching boys baseball and girls softball. I also served as an umpire and on the local board of directors. My emphasis was to teach the mechanics of the game, teamwork, and the general love of the game. Most of the time, I kept score of the game myself, but I also taught several of my kids to do so. Keeping score is actually not too difficult and is good for keeping the game fair and the other team honest. It is also helpful to track where the batter has hitting the ball in prior innings.

Every game requires a good scorekeeper, including American politics. Using my scoring capabilities I decided to develop a baseball scorecard to record Mr. Obama’s play while in office. It is a true record of his performance. Those of you baseball aficionados who understand a scorecard will quickly figure it out. For the rest of you, consider this a lesson.

The only other item I might add to the scorecard is the president’s relationship with the main street media, for which he would obviously get an “Intentional Walk.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  BIG FISH IN SMALL PONDS – Beware of the egos involved with big fish.

LAST TIME:  WHO IS DESIGNING YOUR SYSTEMS?  – Hopefully not your programmers.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

BREAKING BUREAUCRACIES

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 9, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Cleaning up government bureaucracies should be a relatively simple task to perform. Ooops…

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

When we think of a bureaucracy, we tend to associate it with frustration. A mental image of excessive paperwork and rules (aka “red tape”) comes to mind, along with overbearing peons emboldened with a sense of power over the people they are charged to serve. Their inclination to create work as opposed to solving problems stifles business as opposed to running interference for them. It tests our tolerance, but what can be done about it?

Although we primarily associate bureaucracies with government, they also emerge in corporations and nonprofit organizations. It seems the bigger the organization, the slower the service and the greater the frustration. As Parkinson correctly observed, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” When work decreases, either due to volume or changes in policy or technology, few organizations take the time to reconfigure job assignments and, in the process, creates work to maintain the size of the organizational hierarchy and keep people busy (aka “Make work”). This occurs more frequently in government and nonprofits as opposed to commercial enterprises. However, give me a smaller organization armed with productive systems and focused workers, and I’ll show you happier customers and an influx of business.

The secret to flattening organizations is an understanding of the basic business functions of the enterprise, of which there are only three fundamental layers: Policy, Control, and Operational.

POLICY LEVEL – At the top of the hierarchy is the Policy level representing executive decisions regarding such things as corporate strategies and directions, acquisitions, benefits, etc.

CONTROL LEVEL – represents the level where Middle Management is charged with overseeing operations in order to fulfill policy. This is where we consider such things as manufacturing volume, sales quotas, accounts receivable/payable, employment reviews, etc.

OPERATIONAL LEVEL – At the bottom of the hierarchy is the day-to-day operations of the enterprise, such as building products and performing services for clients.

These business functions are organized into a simple hierarchy representing the logical model of the business. The logical model is a stable representation of the purpose of the enterprise, noting its actions and decisions. This will be substantially different than the physical model which is typically depicted using an organization chart, which can be massive and convoluted in appearance, particularly when massive bureaucracies are involved. When the physical model eclipses the logical model, Parkinson’s Law kicks in and the organization becomes lethargic and less responsive. Not surprising, in such bureaucracies, the Peter Principle emerges where people rise above their level of competency. Under this scenario, we find people more interested in corporate gamesmanship as opposed to serving their constituents.

To overcome this problem, it is necessary to first define the logical model, then determine the jobs and number of human/machine resources needed to fulfill it (the physical model). When excessive layers of management are required to perform a business function, it is time to chop off the dead wood. This is precisely what Jack Welch did when he was the CEO at GE in the 1980’s and 90’s. In Welch’s case, he examined each GE business unit and peeled back the excessive layers of management to make each unit leaner. This was done in three purges; the first purge was to eliminate the obvious non-performers of the business. This actually produced little affect; if anything, people were relieved to dispose of the dead wood. The second purge was more noticeable and included administrative staff and productive employees on the verge of retirement. However, it was the third purge which ultimately hurt and revealed the real work effort of the business. By purging the company, Welch was able to eliminate excessive layers of management, and discover the genuine duties and responsibilities of the business unit, thereby reversing Parkinson’s Law.

This approach can be performed on any bureaucracy, particularly government. As I mentioned in my article, “Enterprise Engineering the Federal Government,” the government has become bloated and overbearing. Consequently, the American public is losing faith in the government’s ability to manage social security, tend to the care of our military veterans, establish cost control measures, and, in general, adequately serve the country’s citizens. Because of government bureaucracies, be it at the federal, state of local levels, the citizens have lost faith in their government, that they appear to be out-of-control, and frankly, nobody in power seems to care. Until such time as government cleans up its act, the American people will continue to be suspicious of its motives and never trust it.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  SOME MORE CULTURAL CHANGES – Strange things affecting our culture.

LAST TIME:  BIRTH OF A NATION  – An Islamic state America helped to create.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Government, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

BIRTH OF A NATION

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 7, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- An Islamic state America helped to create.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Despite America’s fears of Muslim terrorists in the Middle East, we are witnessing the birth of a new nation which is a rare occurrence. Fostered by ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it will undoubtedly be a Muslim country consisting of fanatical extremists who will claim land within Iraq and Syria, and possibly beyond. They have long range plans to seize land in Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Cyprus, and Southern Turkey. Although they will be rebuffed by these countries, they will need to get their house in order and settle their country first.

Behind this, of course, is the issue of religion and oil. ISIS is a Jihadist militant group who, if successful, will develop a Sunni Muslim state operating under Sharia Law, a radical notion to westerners. As such, it will become a magnet for Islamic militants and a threat to peace in this tinderbox part of the world. As to oil, ISIS has already overrun several fields, but currently has no means to develop wells and get the crude to market. What is needed is access to the sea, either through Syria to the Mediterranean or through the Iraqi southeast to the Persian Gulf. Turkey and Iran are much too strong to allow ISIS to pass, nor would Israel and Jordan. No, ISIS will have to fight its way through Syria or Iraq in order to access the sea. It is also likely ISIS will try to capture Baghdad, either by force or by siege. This ultimately defines their battle strategy. If they fail to break through to the sea, their movement will collapse.

ISIS considers Mr. Obama a weak president who does not want to put boots back on the ground in Iraq. He may rattle some swords but reinserting troops into Iraq is out of the question. Instead, the president will likely offer intelligence, military leadership, and air strikes. The loan of heavy weapons like tanks and canons is unlikely as it may fall into rebel hands.

Historically, America has not been successful in developing countries in our image. Only the Philippines comes close to following the American model. In contrast, Great Britain excelled in building an empire which included North America, Australia, India, South Africa, and many small islands, for a total of 53 countries in today’s Commonwealth.

Iraq was an experiment to see if we could instill democratic principles in the Middle East, a foreign concept to that region which has primarily been ruled by monarchies and dictatorships. The idea of three separate but equal branches of government is unfathomable to this barbaric part of the world. The United States would have been better off conquering Iraq, seizing the oil fields, and ruling the nation until such time Iraqis demonstrate they possess the desire and temperament to accept democracy. Thus far, they haven’t. By deserting the region, America has left a shaky country prone to takeover.

By March 2013, the total cost of the Iraq War was estimated to have been $1.7 trillion by the Watson Institute of International Studies at Brown University. A total of 4,486 US soldiers were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2012, and this does not include our Allies participating in the conquest. Now we are about to lose everything there including our new billion dollar embassy. Maybe it will become the capitol building for the rebels.

Supposing the ISIS state comes to fruition, the next question is who will they ally themselves with, America or Russia? Frankly, neither as they despise both countries. Instead, they will become a belligerent independent state much like Cuba, Iran and North Korea, and will suffer from the same type of U.N. economic sanctions. They will have few allies in the area. Keep in mind, the long range objective of ISIS is to dominate Iraq, Syria, and beyond. They are well armed, well financed, and very determined.

When American troops pull out of Afghanistan later this year, the government will likely fall to al-Qaida, thereby creating a similar fanatical Muslim state and putting Iran in the unenviable position of being wedged between Afghanistan and Iraq. Although it is unlikely, should Iran decide to broker an alliance between radical Iraq and Afghanistan, such a coalition would threaten peace and oil production. This would represent a genuine threat to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and just about everyone else in the region.

It is not in America’s best interests to allow ISIS to develop itself into a nation, nor the world’s. However, since we have already withdrawn American forces from Iraq, we may have little to say about preventing ISIS from creating a new state. None of this would matter had we adopted a policy of energy independence, but that moment has passed and we are still dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

Let us not forget, few countries are born without bloodshed, including America. The situation in Iraq will become much worse before it gets better. America can either become a helpless bystander or actively involved. Americans may be tired of the conflict there, but we have too much invested, both in the past and in the future, to allow a new radical country to emerge.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  BREAKING BUREAUCRACIES – Cleaning up government bureaucracies should be a relatively simple task to perform. Ooops…

LAST TIME:  YOU CAN PUT YOUR EYE OUT THAT WAY  – What would the 4th of July be without fireworks?

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 7 Comments »

HOW OBAMA IS UNDERMINING DEMOCRATS

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 25, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- With friends like this, who needs enemies?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

You have to pity Democratic candidates running for Congress this Fall. It’s not because the GOP has a stellar lineup, but President Obama, as head of the Democratic party, seems to be going out of his way to trash his own party. We haven’t seen anything remotely like this since Jimmy Carter bungled the Iranian hostage crisis in the late 1970’s which cost him his presidency and marked the rise of congressional Republicans. Similarly, Obama’s incompetence as leader of his party is showing and the Democrats are beginning to bristle.

Between the scandals, his bungling of foreign affairs (“leading from behind”), Obamacare, the terrorist exchange, and his War on Energy, he is making it difficult for Democrats to challenge Republicans in the Fall. Even with well rehearsed talking points, Democrats are finding the mood of the country has significantly moved away from the policies as established by the president. This is causing party loyalists such as Diane Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to recently lash out against the President over the Taliban 5/Bergdahl exchange which required Congressional approval, “So, it comes with some surprise and dismay that the transfers went ahead with no consultation, totally not following the law.”

Democratic politicians are distancing themselves from the president. In the Kentucky Senate race, Democratic candidate Alison Grimes released a 60 second radio ad criticizing President Obama over his recent EPA announcement by warning him, “Mr. President, you’ll be hearing it a lot more when I’m in the senate.”

Obama’s so-called “War on Energy” will cost Democrats dearly particularly in coal states like Kentucky. Unions, who have traditionally backed Democrats, also feel seduced and abandoned by the president. Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers of America also blasted the president’s EPA proposal, “The proposed rule … will lead to long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.”

In prior years, Democrats would follow the party line blindly and not openly challenge the president. This is not so anymore, leaving only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi as Obama’s only remaining cheerleaders. However, if Obama makes any more significant snafus between now and November’s elections, even they may turn their backs on him as they are both up for re-election.

The president gives the distinct impression he is not in touch with the realities of the world, certainly not as the chief executive of the United States. Instead, he seems more interested in talking about football concussions on such television shows as “Live! with Kelly and Michael” or discussing global warming at West Point’s commencement ceremonies, an awkward topic for the venue and day.

Everything he touches seems to turn to dust on him. The Taliban 5/Bergdahl exchange, which he hoped would show him as a compassionate commander-in-chief turned into a publicity disaster when the public found out about Bergdahl’s background and who he was exchanged for. He hoped the EPA announcement over lowering coal emissions, would be greeted with enthusiasm by the country. Instead, it backfired on him. And when the White House accidentally revealed the identity of the CIA station chief in Iraq, even his friends in the press corps started whispering about his competency as leader. It’s as if he is acting on impulse for publicity purposes as opposed to considering anything of substance.

In other words, Obama is not acting very presidential and by doing so, he is losing the confidence and respect of his own party. As such, he will be persona non grata in just about every important congressional race in the fall where his endorsement will be considered more as a liability than an asset.

Democrat politicians and strategists have to be shaking their heads. Unless something radical changes in the next few months, Obama will find himself on the outside looking in. Should the GOP pick up the Senate, Obama will be very much alone in the capitol. True, he will still have some veto power, but he will be a lame duck president and, for all intents and purposes, his administration will be at an end.

The president’s comparison to Carter is uncanny. Whereas Carter’s downfall was energy and Iran, Obama’s is a string of decisions and actions causing the public, and his party, to question his competency. Like Carter, Obama’s supporters have already begun to distance themselves from the president. The acid test though will be how Hillary Clinton supports or refutes the president’s actions in her bid for president. If she distances herself, it will be tantamount to certifying Obama’s lame duck status.

Democrats pinned a lot of hopes and dreams on Obama, but now they have trouble grasping exactly what he is doing, and why. There are now cracks in Obama’s foundation, cracks he caused himself. Sadly, Americans no longer believe it is a matter of, “Change we can believe in.”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  MY 1,000TH FACEBOOK FRIEND – Is it a milestone or a miracle?

LAST TIME:  ACCEPTING MEDIOCRITY IN COMPUTING  – Just because you use Microsoft products, doesn’t mean you are “state of the art.”

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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IT’S ME, RIGHT?

Posted by Tim Bryce on June 4, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- As Johnny Nash sang, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.”

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I had an epiphany recently. I get them every so often, particularly in our consulting business or when writing. It’s a sudden awareness of something, where the clouds part and everything somehow clicks into place. Actually, it’s a wonderful feeling, and I had another just recently.

Ever since I turned 50, I began to notice changes around me, such as in the corporate world, politics, or just day-to-day life. The world was changing and I discovered:

* 2 + 2 no longer equaled 4 (at least according to Common Core).

* What I considered right was now wrong and vice versa. This greatly influenced my moral judgement and perception of others.

* Common sense is no longer common, nor is common courtesy. I questioned our reasoning abilities, our perspectives, and our socialization skills. For example, common sense would suggest we cannot spend more than we bring in; that a declaration of bankruptcy is dishonorable; that we should save money in order to make a down payment to purchase a house. This is evidently not so anymore.

* That we are judged more by our words than our actions. Everything today must be done in accordance with political correctness.

* What is mine is evidently not, and should be given to others. I am being encouraged by the government to do less work, not more, and not to be entrepreneurial in spirit.

* That we still live in a barbaric world, particularly in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Even though our technology has changed and our weaponry has been vastly improved, the world is still a tinderbox.

This disturbed me for quite some time. It even angered me. Then WHAM, my epiphany. Evidently I had it wrong, all wrong; that my parents had misled me, that my teachers, government and church had lied to me, and everyone was playing me for a fool. It was me, my perception of right and wrong that was distorted, not others. Why else would we celebrate bankruptcy? Why else should we not work and have the government subsidize us? Why else should we avoid responsibility?

The first thing I did was decide on a makeover. I let my beard grow scruffy, even though it is now white, and no longer bother to comb my hair. I also wear my pants down so others can enjoy my sexy underwear, and I had my nose pierced. I feel more comfortable not having to wear clean clothes anymore, but I sometimes itch.

I am now contemplating dropping out and allowing the government to pick up the check. I’m expecting a free smart phone and a truckload of groceries any day now. Unemployment tells me I have to try and get a job, but who do they think they are kidding? Oh, by the way, thanks for the drugs, even though I do not need them for medicinal purposes. I am entitled to it.

I now watch MSNBC regularly after realizing Fox News was lying to me all these years. Isn’t Rachel Maddow wonderful? She makes it clear what a great job President Obama is doing. Whereas I originally didn’t understand the humor of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, now I think they are hillarious. And I’ve even gone so far as to join the Brian Williams fan club. Thank goodness the Democratic party no longer insists on embracing God and have successfully labeled the GOP the new “Axis of Evil.” By the way, my prayer rug looks great in my foyer.

Once I admitted, “It’s me,” everything seemed to clear up and I have a new set of friends with a much higher IQ, and the press now finds my articles more acceptable. Today I hang out in a huge mansion with my friends who claim we have squatter’s rights over the person who owns it. Boy, do I love not having to pay bills anymore. I am also looking forward to voting multiple times in the next election.

I am not sure what exactly caused the epiphany. Maybe it had something to do with that packet of Kool-Aid I received in the mail.

“It’s me, right?” Say it.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  D-DAY +70 YEARS – WE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER – A tribute to our Normandy vets, and a history lesson for our youth.

LAST TIME:  MAN VERSUS NUMBERS  – How we are losing the common touch.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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WHY AMERICA SUCCEEDS

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 30, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The answer should be rather obvious.

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These are indeed strange times. We now question not only America’s future, but its very existence. This is not the first time we have questioned our ability to carry on. The 1860’s, 1930’s and 1960’s were strange times in our country’s history, but somehow we held on and succeeded in spite of overwhelming odds against us.

I have had the pleasure and privilege of being able to see quite a bit of the world, and there are many countries with admirable strengths, but there are weaknesses in them as well. Although other countries are quick to criticize our actions and policies, make no mistake, America is the country everyone wants to work with, and the place where everyone wants to come to. In spite of all of our problems, America continues to somehow persevere. One cannot help but ask, “Why?”

As the world’s melting pot, we are a culturally diversified society with a heterogeneous set of opinions and perspectives. Our customs, beliefs, and values are derived not just from the “old world” but from geographical idiosyncrasies as well; e.g., New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, the South, the Midwest, the Southwest, and the Northwest, each with their own indelible peculiarities which influences the behavior and opinion of the citizens. Getting the people of the United States to conform to a standard set of values, rules, and laws is not only incredibly difficult, it is nothing less than a miracle that we have lasted this long.

So why does America succeed? Two reasons:

First, Freedom – We were very fortunate to have a set of founding fathers with the foresight to develop an innovative Constitution and Bill of Rights which defines the checks and balances of government and establishes the unalienable rights we all enjoy as citizens. It is simply brilliant. Freedom allows us to express our creativity and imagination, encourages an entrepreneurial spirit, and promotes a free-enterprise system that stimulates the growth of the middle class representing the economic engine of our country (and the world). Without this engine, America would be no different than any other third world country.

We have been fortunate to have had many people defend these rights over the years, both in and out of uniform, but perhaps no more than Abraham Lincoln who seemed to grasp the significance of what our forefathers were trying to do and, thankfully, preserved it for succeeding generations. I very much doubt we have anyone in our government today with the wisdom and vision needed to devise as sophisticated a document as the framers of the Constitution did over 200 years ago.

Second, the People – who thrive under an environment of freedom. America is not just one people, it is several types of people operating under one umbrella. Both our strength and weakness lies in our cultural diversity. It brings many different perspectives, insights, and new ideas to the table, thus encouraging opportunity, competitiveness and invention on a global scale. It is because of this cultural mix that we only come together as a result of disaster; the rest of the time is spent arguing, finger pointing, and political wrangling. This is why Americans are typically better reactors as opposed to planners. If America has an Achilles’ Heel, it is that we tend to wait for disaster before we act; e.g., The Lusitania, Pearl Harbor, and 911.

America succeeds not because of our government, but in spite of it. Without the blueprint of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, our government would be more invasive in our lives than it already is.

So, why do we succeed? Actually, I think it’s more than just dumb luck, but rather because the time was right to create a country like the United States, the need was real, and we were fortunate to have good and learned people who put it all together. As long as we believe in our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and do not deviate from them, and believe in ourselves, “We the people…” of America will succeed.

Originally Published: 07/21/2009

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  MAN VERSUS NUMBERS – How we are losing the common touch.

LAST TIME:  WHY YOUNG VOTERS ACCEPT OBAMA  – How the next set of voters see America.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

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WHY YOUNG VOTERS ACCEPT OBAMA

Posted by Tim Bryce on May 28, 2014

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- How the next set of voters see America.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

We are now in the sixth year of the Obama presidency and way past the point of blaming President Bush for everything from the economy to hang nails. A lot has happened during this period, the most noticeable of which is a slow, yet apparent, dismantling of the United States. Youth growing up in the age of Bush and Obama do not comprehend the greatness which characterized America; it is a foreign concept to them. They may not appreciate how we survived WW2, put a man on the moon, and became the industrial juggernaut of the world, but they will be voting in the next election and have no comprehension of what America once was and could be again.

Our youngest voters do not understand the meaning of a massive and escalating debt, a growing welfare state, excessive spending, and a horrendously slow recovery. Since they have nothing to compare it to, they think this is the way things should be.

Militarily, we have diminished our ability to fight. Historically, American policy for defense included the ability to fight in two arenas of operation, as in WW2 (Europe and Pacific). During the Obama administration this was changed to accommodate only one theater of war. Since WW2, America accepted and assumed a leadership role in military matters. Today, we “lead from behind.” To young voters who do not possess a sense of history, this appears to be perfectly normal.

At one time, America was the leader of the space race. This all changed during the last six years where we no longer have a policy or major objective for space, and now depend on countries like Russia and China to allow us to hitchhike into space. Basically, we sacrificed our space initiatives for social programs. To our youth, names like Werner Von Braun, Alan Shepard, John Glenn, Gene Kranz, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins, have long been forgotten, as well as their accomplishments.

In terms of energy, when you mention a gallon of gasoline was as little as 29 cents a gallon in the early 70’s, 55 cents in the late 70’s, they are inclined not to believe you. And if you mention gas prices were $1.84/gallon at the beginning of the Obama administration, they are at a loss as to why gas today sells for approximately $3.60/gallon, and do not appear to be particularly concerned about it. Whereas energy independence should be our top priority, the Obama administration blocks all attempts to revive the Keystone pipeline project and cultivate the gas fields in the Northeast, thereby putting Americans back to work, all of which is okay with youth imbued with “green” initiatives and “global warming.”

Our young voters have only known of gridlock in Washington, DC. The president thwarting Congress through any and all means seems perfectly natural to them. Ronald Reagan, even in his day of conservative politics, found a way to work with a Democratic Congress, but not Mr. Obama, not unless you count the 11th hour attempts to raise the debt limit, something he, himself, repudiated when he was a Senator from Illinois.

The legal system has changed vastly. The pretrial release system for processing prisoners puts public safety at risk and is aimed at eliminating the bail bond industry. Drug offenders and illegal immigrants today only get a slap on the wrist. The Commander-in-Chief enforces only those laws he feels is pertinent, least of all guarding our borders. And his Attorney General, the nation’s “top cop,” became the first AG in history to be held in both criminal and civil contempt. If our younger voters are not concerned, why should the rest of us?

Our public educational system has changed from teaching and motivating students, to memorization and testing. Further, an educational bureaucracy is about to become more invasive in the lives of our children with the coming of Common Core. Youth, who have just experienced several years of such education, is now comfortable with this approach.

Even the concept of capitalism, long an inherent part of the American free enterprise system, is under attack by the current administration. By creating a division between the “have’s” and the “have nots” and enacting legislation arresting the development of companies, such as the highest business tax rate in the world, the administration is creating a stifling business environment and moving the country closer to socialism. Young voters show no sympathy as they have been taught to view business, both big and small, as inherently evil.

The division between Americans also seems perfectly normal. Even though it isn’t politically correct, the country has been divided along racial, sexist, and economic lines. The media becomes the judge, jury, and prosecutor in the court of public opinion. By doing so, it stays in lockstep with administration policies and positions. If they do not, journalists are immediately taken to the woodshed.

The culture of corruption surrounding the White House is unprecedented. Evidently, it is now acceptable behavior for all the cabinet departments to stonewall the Congress regardless of lawful subpoenas. It has now been documented there have been hundreds of instances where the president has lied to or misled the American people. Evidently the ends justify the means, regardless of the costs. This is what the White House and young voters understand to be “transparency.”

Some would claim President Obama is openly dismantling the United States and creating a massive bureaucracy to invade every aspect of our lives. Although studies show young voters do not necessarily trust Obama, they have been trained to accept his policies.

This is how our next set of voters understand the world, not based on our past glory. To them, this is all perfectly natural and how they perceive politics working and business conducted. This does not bode well for the next election. If you are a concerned parent, it is time to discuss with them what capitalism is, the dignity of work as opposed to entitlement, the American Dream, the Constitution which explains how our government is supposed to work, and above all else, an understanding of our history. Don’t rely on the teachers or media to explain it as it is not in their best interest to do so; it is up to you, the parents, to set them straight. Do not abdicate your responsibility.

Obama’s secret to dismantling America is not all of the devices mentioned above, but developing an apathetic generation of voters who will embrace Mr. Obama’s policies well into the 21st century.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  WHY AMERICA SUCCEEDS – The answer should be rather obvious.

LAST TIME:  THE STUPIDS  – Working with the public is not easy.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 8 Comments »

 
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