“The Home Of The Brave”

I will be among those boycotting the NFL tomorrow.  For me, I am not protesting anyone’s right to speak or protest against the ills of our society.

I am a Vietnam veteran who volunteered to fight for my country and while I was one of the lucky Marines, many of my friends were not.  Kneeling during the National Anthem shows a total lack of respect for our Country and every other veteran who has fought for our Country.

More importantly, I want to ask these players if they considered how it must feel to the spouses, the parents, the children, the brothers and sisters and friends of all those who lost their lives serving our country.  All they have is the pride of knowing that someone they loved dearly gave his or her life for their country.

It raises the question of why fight for a Country where many of the most gifted and privileged in our midst show such little respect for this country.  Perhaps that was not their intent but that is what they’ve done.  It’s shameful!

I understand, we have problems, but for one who has been in 64 countries, both rich and poor, I feel so lucky to have been born in the U.S.

By boycotting the NFL perhaps it will get everyone to focus on solving our problems rather than taking away the pride we feel for those who sacrificed so much for this Country!

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National Health Care??

After writing my last Post, I started wondering if there were any major problems that could be solved as a result of this current stand off between Trump and the Political Establishment. And then I got it!

I spent the last 30 years of my life striving to make “Financial Services” a “profession” rather than a “business”, and a lot of progress has been made.  Unfortunately, “Health Care” has evolved in the opposite direction.  What used to be a highly respected profession has become a profit driven “business”.  What’s ironic is, it’s not the Doctors, Nurses and others who work with patients making the big bucks!  It’s the Hospitals, Pharmaceutical and Insurance Companies who are driving the costs of health care (and their profits) higher every year.

Medical Groups train Doctors how to speed up patient exams so that they can see more patients every day.  Hospitals are encouraged to buy very expensive diagnostic equipment and earn a profit by scheduling unnecessary procedures, etc. etc.  And the Media, they make a fortune from T.V. ads pushing drugs to treat diseases we have never heard of.

So why is the U.S., the richest country in the world, the only developed country in the World that does not have a “National Health Care” system? The blame goes to our career politicians who are not going to bite the hands that feed them.  I have worked and lived in Countries that have National Health Care systems and I’ve never heard one person say they would prefer the “profit driven system” that has evolved in the U.S.

Now if you check, you will find that President Trump spoke about the need for a National Health Care system before he ever ran for office.  And after he was elected President, he told the Prime Minister of Australia how much he admired their Health Care system.  Trump the “independent” just might have the opportunity to make it happen.  As a Republican he has no chance, but as an “independent” who has already shown his willingness to work with members of both Parties, he might just might find the required votes.

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The “Political Establishment” has been Trumped

In the past when one of our two Political Parties have controlled both the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch, the Party’s agenda is quickly put in place.  With Donald Trump in the White House and the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress why have we not seen the Republican agenda moving forward?

Think about it!  Should we really be surprised?  Let’s face it, Trump may have won the Republican nomination but has everybody forgotten how the career politicians in the Republican Party opposed Trump.  Trump is an “Independent”.  The Republican nomination was not supposed to go to an “outsider”.    I’m guessing that many Republican politicians in Washington are just as determined, as the Democrats, to see Trump fail.

To those who are part of the Political Establishment, Trump is a virus infecting their hold on power.  The strategy for both the Republican and Democratic Parties, is to “freeze” Trump out ensuring that his Presidency is a “failed Presidency”.  Hoping that such a failure will discourage others.  They fear a lot more than a Trump Presidency, they fear it foreshadows the end of the two party system.  According to a Gallup Poll taken in 2014, 43% of U.S. voters are registered as “Independent”, 30% are registered as Democrats and 26% as Republican.  In 1988 31% were registered as Independent.

Trump showed that you can win an election:

  • Without the support of one of the two major Parties.
  • Using Social Media and the Internet to connect with voters.
  • And without selling your vote (and soul) to Wall Street, the Unions, Big Pharma, and others willing to fund your campaign in exchange for your vote.

I’m guessing that if the Republicans continue to undermine Trumps ability to deliver the agenda that got him elected, Trump may withdraw from the Republican Party, and declare that he is in fact an “Independent”.  I would love to see that!  This would no doubt encourage other smart, successful, men and women to run for office without being “labeled” or held accountable to those dictating the agenda of the two major Parties.  Citizens who truly desire to give something back to this great Country.

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You are Welcome “Here”

I’m hoping that the Executive Order issued by President Trump blocking the entry into the United States of people from seven predominantly Muslim countries has accomplished at least one thing.  Americans are now looking at maps to locate these countries, reading to learn something about the Muslim religion, and developing their own opinions rather than just parroting the views of celebrities and the media.  At least that is my hope.

Some believe the ban is Trump’s attempt to restrict freedom of religion.  (Which is ironic considering there is no freedom of religion in any of those seven countries.)  Others are angry simply because Trump issued the Order, not bothering to recognize that the list was initiated by President Obama.

Those who believe we should readily accept tens of thousands of refugees need to be careful what they are wishing for.  I am sure Angela Merkel is wishing she had pursued a more cautious approach to accepting refugees from these same countries.  Assimilating these refugees is going to be a huge challenge and we need to learn from the experience of others.

What is motivating these refugees to flee their countries is the daily hell in which they are living, and we have contributed to creating that hell with our misguided foreign policy over the last twenty-five years.  To many, we are “the enemy”.  Our two cultures could not be more different.  However this does not give us an excuse to turn our backs on these refugees.

The American people are the most generous people in the world when it comes to helping those in need and we have a moral obligation to help, but we must be careful that we do not create another problem while trying to solve this one.

Young male refugees, with no family, could create a significant risk if given easy entry into our country.  They may have lost friends or family and blame us.  Estimates of civilian casualties since we invaded Iraq in 2003 vary but even the most conservative estimates are in the hundreds of thousands.  You and I may not think of these refugees as our enemy, but what do they think of us?  Try empathizing with them.  They will arrive “here” with little or no education, no marketable skills, and no ability to speak English or Spanish.  They may have escaped the hell of war but life will not be easy.  It is my fear that we may end up creating a pool of “dream candidates” for  Jihadist Recruiters to radicalize.

Perhaps our intentions in the Middle East were good, but like all occupying forces throughout history, any goodwill created was lost long ago.  And now it’s not clear whom we should support in these civil wars.

Our current immigration procedures and policies fall well short of what we need to do if we truly want to help, but it is going to require more than a strict vetting procedure.  If we are serious about helping these refugees we need to establish a government program enabling Americans to sponsor these refugees and assist in their assimilation.  Surely out of a country of 325 million people we could find a 100 thousand individuals or families throughout this country willing to help.  If not there will be very little assimilation.    Simply giving them permission to legally live and work in the United States is not a solution.

So when we hold up a sign that says “You Are Welcome Here” we need to think of what “here” means to each of us.  Do we mean you are welcome “here in the United States”, “here in our own community”, “here in our neighborhood”, or “here in our spare bedrooms”.  It’s easy to hold up a sign expressing support for these refugees but we need a comprehensive plan of action and not just demonstrations and slogans.

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My Five Years in Saudi Arabia

As many of you know I spent my early 30’s working in Saudi Arabia for Adnan Khashoggi, arguably the richest man in the world at that time.  The late 70’s was an exciting time there as the Saudi used their new oil wealth to modernize their country and turned to the West to aid in this project.  Roads, airports, schools, hospitals, etc., you name it and it was being built.  Companies from Europe, the U.S., Japan, Korea, were all there to compete for these lucrative projects.

To do the manual labor, workers were brought in from poorer Muslim countries such as Yemen and Pakistan.  It was a win for all, or though it seemed so at the time.  (More on that later.)

Saudi Arabia was, and is, ruled by the House of Saud.  The culture was, and is, like nothing I had ever known, and apparently little has changed.  Women cannot drive or go anywhere without their husbands.  In public their clothing can only reveal their face.  Being Homosexual or Transgender is not acceptable and punishable by death.

If you wanted to work there, you had to accept their culture, and to be honest it never bothered me.  It was their country and I was a guest.  This was obviously much harder if you were a woman and there were many Western women there with their spouses.  I understood their plight but would always remind them that it was their country and their culture.  No one was forcing any of us to be there.

Many of my Muslim friends became Westernized and immigrated to the West or simply lived by one set of rules when in Saudi and another when visiting or working in the West.  “When in Rome, __________________________”!

I have always felt lucky to learn about and experience different cultures.  For the vast majority of Muslims, their religious based culture works well for them.  Too many Westerners believe that Muslims need to embrace reforms, which will make their culture more like ours.  It’s never going to happen because they believe we are the ones who need to reform.

Islam is not only a Religion; it is a Political System with very strict laws derived from the Koran.  Being concerned about the huge influx of Muslims refugees does not make one a racist.

In the past many Muslim immigrants came seeking a new life and embraced our culture.  But that is not the case today.  Muslim immigrants fleeing their war torn Country have no intention of assimilating and accepting our Western Culture.  To the contrary, they are demanding that we accept their Culture which, as I said earlier, is like nothing I had ever experienced.

“Democracy”, “Separation of Church and State”, Equal Rights”, these are all beliefs they will not embrace.  And, just as I learned to respect their Culture, in return, I expect the same acceptance and respect from Muslims for our Culture.

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Trump the “Independent”

Wow!  I never dreamed we could elect a President who was opposed by both major political parties.  I thought we would see a woman in the White House much sooner.   He took on the entire “political establishment”, and won.

Back in March I wrote about how low so much of the Media had stooped in their attempts to defeat Donald Trump.  (Read the post, entitled “The Hate Strategy”, because it is even more relevant now.)  The “political establishment” feels their power is slipping away and is using their propagandist in an attempt to convince us that this Trump presidency is going to be a disaster.

All the way up until Election Day we were told the Stock Market would crash if Trump won.  The Stock Market has always been the most reliable indicator of what lies ahead, far more accurate than all the “experts”.  It’s early, but the “market” is sending a strong message of optimism.

Now that they have lost, and their agenda is threatened, they are stepping up their game, and it is scary.  I hope it does not lead to violence but that seems to be the goal of the New York Times, USA Today, Bloomberg, CNN, MSNBC, etc.  It’s “deplorable!”  The propaganda machine of the Democratic Party failed, and I hope they will start to realize that they may not be as smart as they seem to think they are.  Not likely, but thanks to the Internet and Social Media, they do not have as much power as they once did.

Donald Trump may not be Politically Correct and many of his comments were hurtful.  But the Clintons are “Politically Corrupt” and their vast propaganda machine could not hide it all.  The Clintons, have only themselves to blame.  Unfortunately they let down so many people who believed in them.

Hillary would have had so many obligations to those who have funded her campaigns and created the Clinton’s tremendous wealth over the years.  Trump’s only obligations are to the voters who elected him.  I wish him well and hope he will use that freedom to accomplish great things.

And for those who think the Electoral College should be abolished, are they also hoping to dismantle the Senate?  We have a Federation of 50 states and it would have fallen apart long ago without each State having a voice.

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The Legend

Many of you know Bo as a star at DFA over the past 20 years but before that Bo became a football legend at the University of Washington.  Bo is being honored at the Husky game this weekend and this recognition is well deserved.  I just wanted to share this  article I dug up giving you a few highlights his storied career.

Bo Cornell was a hulking football player who ran over people, his fearless style allowing him to move easily from Roosevelt High School to theUniversity of Washington to the NFL.

He had a name suited for toughness, but only because his younger sister, Cindy, couldn’t pronounce Bob.

The Miami DolphinsBenny Malone, however, even had trouble spitting out Bo.

In 1974, Cornell was two games into an NFL position switch with the Buffalo Bills — from backup fullback to starting linebacker — when he chased after Malone on a running play moving away from him. When the Dolphins tailback finally turned up field, the pursuer delivered a massive blow.

“I hit him in the head and we both went down; he was out cold,” Cornell recalled. “He had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. I chipped a big chunk of tooth. I felt I should have been carried off, too.

A lineman told me that was the hardest hit he had ever seen in his life.”

Today, Cornell travels in a far less violent world. At 56, he’s a slighter man with a mild demeanor. He’s into finance, a regional director for California-based Dimensional Fund Advisors. An Issaquah resident, he’s been married to his high school sweetheart, Jeanie, for 33 years and has two grown children.

Cornell started playing football when he was 8, advancing to each level with the same players, among them Jim Currie, Rick Smith, Steve Grassley, Bob Vynne and the late Hugh Klofenstein. As Roosevelt seniors, these guys had become such a cohesive unit they won seven of eight games and captured the 1966 Metro League championship, beating Sealth 14-13 in the Thanksgiving Day title game.

Cornell was durable, lifting weights at a downtown gym up to six times a week, starting when he was 15. He got the tough yard whenever needed but was equally impressive in the open field. He returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown against Lincoln. He scored from 79 yards out against Shorecrest. Recruiters everywhere sought him out.

The UW was not an automatic choice. Cornell pursued an Air Force Academy appointment, thinking he might become a pilot. Yet he was nearsighted and failed a two-day physical at McChord Air Force Base. He signed a national letter of intent with Stanford and placed it in a mailbox, only to have immediate second thoughts. His father retrieved it from a postal worker.

At the UW, Cornell played for two bad teams and one good one, but was consistent throughout. He scored 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,250 yards in his career. When his team went 1-9 in 1969, he lost just three yards all season while running for 613 in a wishbone offense. Demonstrating his versatility, he caught 33 passes as a senior when the Huskies switched to a passing attack.

The pros wanted him. Cornell was the Cleveland Browns‘ second-round draft pick and spent two seasons as a special-teams player. The Bills traded for him and asked him to move from offense to defense in his second season in Buffalo, considered a radical move at the pro level.

“That was one of the things I was most proud of,” he said. “I had to learn everything on the run. I hadn’t played any defense since high school. To me, it was just football. I wanted to play. I knew I could do it.”

 

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