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The Shaping Of A Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomer

by John Jazwiec

The Baby Boomer generation - 1946 to 1964 - against the backdrop of other generational stereotypes (like Gen X 1965 to 1975, Gen Y 1976 to 1995) - are, like all stereotypes, not absolutes and cover too many years.

I call my generation the Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomer generation. We watched television with our parents. We were not a part of any protest movement.  Hippies were a bad word in the house. Speaking of television, we hardly watched it. We played outside and became immersed in the 1970s black fashion period. The very first record I bought in 1975 was by Stevie Wonder. Speaking of 1975, the closest we came to Richard Nixon, was SNL.

SNL formed the basis of my views on culture and as it does to this very day. Parody and stand-up comedy was what I was interested in. So I tried it along with being an Italian restaurant waiter while working my way through five years of college. I wasn't a very good comic, but my job as a waiter was great training for the rest of my life.

Undergraduate and graduate studies turned to the serious business of economics. You couldn't have grown up in Chicago without being influenced by Reagan's supply-side economics taught by Milton Friedman at the University of Chicago.

This led to what was a political break within my family. My family was made up of the Chicago Democrat Machine. I in turn, became an Alex P Keaton Republican. The break was as sharp - using my Southern friends terminology - as switching from a Dodge to a Ford truck. "We didn't raise him that way".

I would be a solid Republican through Reagan and Bush 41. I hated Bill Clinton and supported 41 and Dole. I was genuinely apoplectic about the 2000 election. But by 2004, I was convinced that Bush 43 wasn't a true conservative. But it's not like I jumped on the John Kerry bandwagon. 

But while I would have voted for John McCain because he was my hero, I felt that the country was better of with what I saw as a smart, inspiring, centrist, pragmatic, charismatic young man who was the president of the Harvard Law Review. A constitutional professor. An outsider. 

I never changed my party's allegiance from 2008 to 2016. I was waiting for Jeb Bush. Trump was instead nominated with his anti-conservative messaging, generally destructive derogatory statements, ignorance and anti-morality - which combined with the GOP establishment mostly embracing him - turned me from a registered Republican to an Independent to a wait-and-see Democratic Obama-centrist. I am still waiting.

Whether it is Trump or guns for conflict resolution with anti-socialists, I can't forget what my Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomer childhood was like. When you played outside, there was no such thing as being anti-social. Your mom kicked you out of the house from dawn to dusk. All conflict resolution was settled right there and them. Everyday there was a fight about the most trivial things. You fought for five minutes, got it out of your system and went back to being friends.

I also can't forget that we embraced a multi-cultural world, not just because they were our friends, but in our attitudes that we were all Americans. So this older Baby Boomer attitude - of exclusion and race-biting - is foreign to me. 

That's not to say, that my Pre-Vietnam Baby Boomers ended up being homogeneous. Most of my friends never went to college. They never read books. They were not interested in anything that didn't have to do with themselves. They became socially and economically disenfranchised. So, they fit right in with the older Baby Boomers.

So, when you read this blog, I hope this helps in interpreting who is writing it. 


Driving Crazy

by John Jazwiec

21st Century School Crossing Guard

Yes, we had school crossing guards. They were us children. We wore orange belts. I don't know who was more in danger: the crossing guards or our classmates, from parents who didn't care and/or who already were drunk. Oh, the good old days. Now? Every street crossing is policed by an uber-empowered octogenarian with a face and body that looks like he was THE danger back in the day. Want a serious and focused encounter with a 7-Eleven or Kinkos clerk? Good luck. Perhaps today's school crossing guard should be solicited by retailers. Come within 100 feet of a 21st century child crossing a street without getting the stink eye and you risk feeling guilty all day. Shooting these same children? Well, I guess that's now okay. 

Driving In The Projects Or By Crackers

Recently, I was lost and I ended up with my gleaming Baby Boomer-privileged car in a one in-and-out access project that resembled Training Day. Suffice to say, I stood out like a sore thumb. I told myself, if I get killed, this shouldn't be a murder but a suicide. I didn't see any guns and I was fine. Then right after, I was cut off by a cracker in a pickup truck with a gun rack. That was 100% more scary. I am not scared of the Islamic State Of Syria And Iraq. But I am scared of the White Christian State Of Dodge RAM And Ford F-150.

The Mythical Best Expressway Lane

Perhaps, the most remarkably worst thing about living in Chicago, is our remarkably worst traffic. Besides the fact that our "expressways" don't have enough lanes, the lanes we do have are shut down for future repairs that are long on barricades, but bereft of actual construction workers. So everyone is constantly switching lanes like there is a mythical "best" one to be found. Which slows down the traffic even more. I don't know what is more irritating. Slowing down to let one of these drivers cut me off or nearly crashing into them when we are trying to do the same thing at the same time?


Stop Trying To Explain The Mystery Of Trump

by John Jazwiec
 
Why is Trump blowing up the international Iranian deal that 94% of US diplomatic experts agree with? Why did he open the Jerusalem embassy, that lead to more violence? Why the so-tough American 1920-like tariffs against "foreigners"?  Why pander to white nationalism? Why the emphasis on the NRA? Why the rallies, talking to "real Americans", while pursuing an economic policy that doesn't help them? Why will he not likely suffer any blowback from Mueller's investigation. Why are his fellow House Republican's still his sycophants?
 
I am tired of people trying to explain the "mystery of Trump". I think it is quite easy to see why Trump does what he does - 
 
Trump is an interesting mix of Obama-emotional rejection-ism with an all-consuming - mixed with a last-person-in-the-office (see Bolton) confirmation bias - focus on appealing to his base. A focused/strategy that is not as simple as checkers, but most definitely is not three-dimensional chess. His base is in lockstep with the fighting-slugger, who defies intellectualism and the nuances of internationalism, diplomacy and what-comes-next. That is the part Trump cast himself to play, knowing the audience who would watch and enjoy. DANGEROUS? Beyond. Hard to decipher? At least in my opinion, no.
 
As to his base: let's make some societal conclusions of the times we are living in. Christian evangelicals being a moral check of Trump-ism is laughable. Drive by their churches. They all have white crosses. The buildings are white. And they are more in love with their white cross, than that brown Jesus hippie guy saying the beatitudes. White nativism with its comical crutch for economic or social failure - that just because someone was born here, one or many generations after someone else did the hard work of immigration - is not receding. It preys on itself; especially in our new economy, where only the unique or the poor are in demand for labor. So the white nativists turn to their churches and/or their substance abuses. They don't read. They continue to give up. The only thing that keeps them sane, is to say they are an "American".
 
Trump-ism is simply a reflection of these and other 2018 societal bifurcated conditions, with people who have identified this growing demographic, pander to it, and line their own pockets. Trump is is the latest iteration of this phenomenon, that was started by Rush Limbaugh, and continued by Sean Hannity. The disenfranchised get their wounds/balmed nationally by singular, common-victim-narratives and they retain what is least-earned: they were borne out of the womb of their legally-status mother.
 
The real question is this: Will and how long will this tunicate suffice? More importantly, will a GOP or Democratic challenger offer a centrist-solution that can play in Trump House districts? If the choice is free government help vs.staying with a fighter, the Democrats lose. If the choice is an honest and new-21st century method, to create future higher-paying wages vs. the fighter, the Democrats win.
 
The rest of the news, is noise.

Messaging 101- DNC Party House Midterms

by John Jazwiec

Quit watching liberal TV news networks like MSNBC and CNN. Stop believing in the Robert Mueller liberal-fantasy show. Quit saying anything negative about Trump. It only backfires. When people said negative things about Obama, who they personally liked, it also backfired. Stop watching generic polls. They are only generic. This Democratic House landslide being predicted, may align with history, but it isn't in the bag. Oh, and get Bernie Sanders (crazy liberal), Elizabeth Warren (disliked by business) and Nancy Pelosi (disliked by RINOs) off the air. Feel free to disassociate the party from HRC. Finally, the House is gerrymandered. There are only a limited amount of districts a Democrat can win. 

Messaging. 1. Ask how many people have benefited from the tax cuts, besides big company stocks giving out cash dividends to prop up their own stock prices? Where is the rise in median wages? Where are jobs being created? RINO-centric collar county suburbs? After a sobering trip to their tax accountant - who has likely warned them to INCREASE their 2018 withholdings to reflect the new tax law and to make up for what they are already short, as of April 15th - will see that a $12 to $24 thousand standard deduction, is probably short of the state taxes, local taxes and mortgage interest deductions they lost. It's not like they can move tomorrow to another state, locality and a home that costs less. 2. Focus on the disorganization of the White House. No one, who MUST maintain a stable household, can disagree that the White House isn't stable. People have been unvetted, unqualified and fired almost daily. Positions aren't being filled - even with the current Congress. Can't it be argued that a new House majority will help to bring order to chaos? 3. Repeat one and two. Better yet repeat one. No one can remember more than one or two messaging points. One is the best. MESSAGE - 

Where did your money go, over the last two years, besides raising the national debt to unsustainable levels?


2018 Key2Act User Conference and Me - Perhaps Older, Certainly Not More Mature, But Enjoying What I Do

by John Jazwiec

I haven't had the time to put up a new picture of myself since I started this blog.

It wasn't vanity.

For good or for bad, I am a creature, who thinks of his body as a transport mechanism for his brain. Speaking of my brain, it's also weird.

If my brain is moved into a position in a room, with say - a more normal human being - it pays no attention to what they are wearing, what their gender is, what they look like, or their nationality/race. 

Rather my brain starts, by trying to form some kind of syncing up of a two-way brain modem connection. 

Then, throughout the duration of the "modem" connection, I am asynchronously trying to read and write files, into my brain, before it is transported to another location.

Yeah, weird. But true. But I digress.

Here was a picture taken of me at our 2018 Key2Act User Conference (UC) last week - 

Dressed up in CEO costume ...

Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 7.37.16 AM

 

In costume on stage, live ...

Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 7.52.57 AM

 

First time in my life successfully escaping Epcot before it was sealed. The high sign was me - very, very maturely - saying goodbye to an imaginary reality, so my brain could be transported unfettered to unknown physical locations ...

Screen Shot 2018-05-04 at 7.57.06 AM

 

And finally, what I enjoy doing. Making customers, employees and their families happy and ensuring they have fun!

https://vimeo.com/267859028

(That's the real Billy Beane - of Moneyball fame - played in the movie by Brad Pitt)


04/22/18 The Political Realities In Favor Of Trump

by John Jazwiec
  • The economy has continued to improve, from Obama to Trump. Trump is far-better than Obama in taking credit. People care more about the economy, than marital infidelities.
  • Ironically, there is one big-way that Trump's foreign policy is a continuation of Obama's post-Bush foreign policy. Trump is loathe to engage in wars and wants to exit existing wars. Obama, in part, was elected as a rejection of wars of occupation of the Bush administration. Trump has continued to do so. People hate wars. Certainly more than esoteric DOJ claims and Trump's unorthodox style.
  • There is this anti-Trump fantasy, that Robert Mueller will bring down Trump. Mueller - at worst - can only wrap-up with a report to Congress and the American public. Only Congress can - again at worst - initiate impeachment proceedings.
  • Speaking of Mueller - who I believe plays his role by the book, with thoroughness and painstakingly detail/process - nonetheless is endanger of his investigation going on too long. Again, no fault in his job as a responsible special prosecutor. But the longer this goes on, the politics of what he is doing are going to seem to many Americans, that he is indeed on a "witch hunt". 
  • If the Democrats gain a majority in the House, they would need a simple majority to impeach Trump (think of them as the indictors or grand jury). But it would take 67 our of 100 Senate members to vote for impeachment (think of them as the jury). THERE IS NO WAY 67 SENATORS WOULD VOTE TO IMPEACH.
  • Make no mistake about it. Trump is going to run for president in 2020. He will be the GOP nominee. Assuming the same economics hold, Trump has redefined the presidential campaign process. Trump is a street fighter and a champion - in words, not necessarily in actions - for a the working class that feels no one cares about them.
  • To beat Trump - you better bring a baseball bat - as big as Trump's bat. Prose and logic can't beat Trump. A Democrat must be comfortable in such a fight. And, he or she must connect to the working class, and have the credibility to fulfill campaign words with real follow through after the election. 
  • I know everyone says that a Democratic nominee must be younger. But what young Democrat is a ruthless Trump-like fighter? Forget that, which Democrat is a Trump-like fighter? What Democrat has fought for the working class and has credibility?
  • I know of only one. And he is older. Older than Trump. With an concerning expiration date. Joe Biden. Which I believe he can mitigate with a one-term pledge. Biden can go down-and-dirty with Trump and hold his own. Biden was added to the Obama ticket because he is a white working class guy, who has always fought - in a moderate, not Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren way - for white workers. He also can carry the minority vote. 
  • That means - Trump has positioned himself as the presumptive 2020 reelected winner. He has defined any challenger, in such as way, that severally limits the field of challengers. Until proven otherwise, Trump is not only the presumptive winner of the 2020 election, but our president through January of 2015.

Left And Right - Quit Miscasting President Obama At Your Peril

by John Jazwiec

(I know it has been over a month since I last posted. Frankly, besides a tremendous workload in my day-job, I can't keep up with Trump's daily reality show, the lack of gun reform leadership, the stock market being overvalued and the danger of deficits to fund people that can't positively effect an economy who's GNP is 70% based on middle to lower class consumption. Tariffs? Not a zero-sum game. Even a Economics 101 student understands the multiplication of money and trade. Tariffs along with the resulting inflation, will both drive deficits higher and drive interest rates higher to attract investors to buy our debt ).

What bothers me is the miscasting of President Obama not just from the right, but also the left. So I am going to try and provide some some facts along a broader spectrum.

Obama the politician. Guess who was the last northern Democrat to win more than one term before Obama? Answer - FDR. Clinton won twice as a southern Democrat and Carter won once as the same. Ditto for LBJ and Truman. Except - to LBJ's credit on civil rights - his Democratic successors have had to give up the deeper South. Which makes Obama's electoral mandate even more striking

Obama the Reagan naive optimist. Despite the tribalism of the two parties, Reagan and Obama saw an innate goodness of America. Despite the obstructionist elements they faced every day, they nonetheless saw America as an exceptional country.

Both were pragmatists with Obama calmly taking on the immanent collapse of the US economy. Obama staffed his first term with Tim Geithner (NY Fed Chairman as Secretary of the Treasury) and Robert Gates - a Republican - as Secretary of the Defense. Obama, instead of demand side stimulus - enacted a $700 trillion mix of spending and tax cuts. Under great pressure from the left - understanding how banking really works - he didn't tear down the banks and their pay/talent pool.Obama promised the people to disengage from two wars and enact health insurance reform. Finally, his landmark HCRA, was lifted from the 1994 GOP plan, instead of swinging for the fences on a socialist universal health care insurance. 

Obama didn't understand the GOP threat to his presidency. He couldn't have predicted, that days after his inaugural, the entire GOP plan was to vote no on everything to minimize his presidency. Having said that, he was reelected with a healthy electoral majority. 

The US Republic requires the US president to be both head of state and chief of the executive branch. As the head of state, like the differences of England's PM and Queen, Obama was respected by our allies for his continuity to American values. 

The earliest 45 best presidents since Obama left office. No president in history - with such little time for historians to evaluate his performance - has entered the rankings as the 12th best president like Obama. Trump? 45th best.

Perhaps to a fault, the Obama presidency was no-drama with Obama driving the car less than the speed limit with two hands of the wheel. Now all we have is drama with a president recklessly driving the car.

Finally, there were no scandals in the Obama presidency. 

My right-wing friends have no reason to not demonize Obama. That's what they do.

But I am a centrist. So when I see the left bending towards socialism - as a response to Trump's Kleptocracy - they are making a huge mistake. They have may not have learned that a left-center presidential candidate is the only way to defeat Trump. 

There is a reason that Obama was elected twice - that seemingly has been "lost" by the last election. His coalition is only getting younger. It hasn't disappeared. He popularity amongst the voters is 20 points higher than Trump. The only reason he lost the coalition wasn't Trump. He lost it by a mistaken calculation that the American people - who want change - nominated a listless candidate who lacked any thing concrete along with the vestiges of a Clinton White House with a past for disdainful ghosts in her family dynamic. 

In short, 40 years of a widening income gap and the eroding of the middle class, has left the US with two dangers: The empty promises of a far-right president or the promises and irresponsible promises of the far-left. 

Tomorrow we will find out whether a center-right Democrat can make an impact in a Pennsylvania House district that voted for Trump by a healthy 20 points. Conner Lamb - the Democrat center-right candidate - is the best way for the Democrats to regain their momentum by running to the center.

The critical question, is will the Democrats pay attention to the Conner Lambs of Pennsylvania and the Doug Jones of Alabama? Will they take their cues and model themselves as a Obama centrist? Or we they attempt a reactionary jump to the far-left policies of Bernie Sander?

As to my right wing friends, assuming the Democrats continue to attract young - men and women - with centrist positions - given changing attitudes amongst new voters - just how long can they make and enable far-right thinking and expect to win elections in the longterm?

All of this gets us back to whether the left and right will continue to wrongfully miscast President Obama's presidency. 


Stock Market - Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

by John Jazwiec

January 12, 2018

 

Finally, the stock market is entering a dangerous zone.

Screen Shot 2018-01-12 at 9.43.20 AM

The Shiller P-E ratio - that takes into consideration inflation and a 10-year moving average - has a mean of 16. Today that ratio is double the mean. This is the second time the Shiller P-E ratio has topped the 1929 Black Tuesday ratio. The stock market is in dangerous territory. 


The Real Russian Story

by John Jazwiec

I will leave it to others smarter than me to ascertain the reasons for releasing a memo to discredit the FBI's methods to convince a FISA judge to monitor Carter Page that began in 2013.

But this is what I know and is not being widely-reported within each day's news cycle: The Senate by a vote of 98-2 approved new sanctions on Russia for interfering in the 2016 election. The president - knowing his veto would be overruled by the Senate - signed off on the new sanctions.

The president decided not to implement the sanctions. Claiming the legislation, in itself, was a deterrent.

This despite the widely held claim - Susan Collins included (“We know the Russians have not given up on their disinformation campaign and their attempt to sow discord in this country, and also to undermine faith in democratic institutions") - that they will do so again in 2018.


Was Trump's Silence Last Weekend Deafening

by John Jazwiec

Watching Congress, over the weekend, shutting down the government was both dysfunctional and entertaining. Also, as predicted, the Democratic Party brought a megaphone to a gunfight. I can't even use a "knife" or "fist" metaphor - that gives them way to much credit.

A lot of people thought that Harry Reid was just a nice old man when he was the Democratic Senate leader. He wasn't. I could spout all the books I have read that showed how tough he really was behind the scenes. But note this: Reid was an amateur boxer. Chuck Schumer? What's has he been noted for? He likes the camera. Now we know he is an ineffective strategist and a week negotiator. 

But the weirdest part this weekend's national reality show, was Trump's silence and an absence of gloating about the deal. His silence was explained as a tacit agreement with GOP leaders to get out of the way. That seems to defy credibility. Trump doesn't take well to anyone who tries to box him in. Regardless, why no braggadocious victory lap?

Could it have something to do with the fact that Jeff Sessions was interviewed by Mueller's team last Wednesday? Could it have something to do with - as reported by the Washington Post - that Mueller wants to interview Trump soon?

I admit I am on the "grassy knoll" and I am likely wrong.

But that doesn't explain Trump's un-Trump-like behavior over the weekend.


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From athletic scholar and satirist to computer programmer to CEO success, John Jazwiec brings a unique and often eccentric perspective to business and supply chain challenges. Exploring how they can be solved through the leadership and communication insights found in untraditional sources. This CEO blog demonstrates how business insights from books on history to the music of Linkin Park can help challenge and redefine “successful leadership.” Read Jazwiec’s Profile >>

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