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Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

by John Jazwiec

Hurricane Harvey was terrible. Irma was too. Although, our home in Naples was ground zero - and we don't have any idea what's left, as of this writing - our thoughts always go out to others. 

We set up a Red Cross fund at my company for both hurricanes. We gave money. And as of today, we adopted a Harvey dog. 

Meet the newest member of the Jazwiec family.

Dog


Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders Must Go

by John Jazwiec

I haven't had the time to write for the last two weeks.

But watching Hillary Clinton whine about the 2016 election and Bernie Sanders promoting unattainable universal health care, is an admission that the Democratic Party isn't ready to move on.

While I am a feminist to a fault, Hillary Clinton was a fatally flawed candidate from the start. Not because she was a women - although there was always going to be a misogynistic block of voters - but because she wasn't a natural politician with a fresh face. The nation saw her as an extension of the Clinton recking ball. The nation saw her as a 2008 Democratic presumptive nominee that lost despite her advantages. The nation saw her as a privileged 2016 nominee who hadn't changed and learned the lessons from 2008. She had no particular message, except it was my turn.

Bernie Sanders - despite his appeal with millenniums - was a narcissistic populist with dangerous radical leftist ideas that were and are now unattainable. He kept pushing Clinton to the left. He now keeps pushing the Democratic Party to the left to its own detriment. 

They must now go and shut up. 

The return to the center - that muddy place where liberals and conservatives loath - is where elections are won. 

The majority of Americans don't support Trump. His favorability ratings continue to remain below 40%. But that is only an absolute number in the middle of his presidency. His numbers would be higher relatively when set against a poor candidate and/or someone who is too far to the left. 

Conversely, a reincarnation of Barack Obama would destroy Trump. Liberals weren't satisfied with Obama. Conservatives hated Obama. But the center always wins. Obama understood that. 

You may think Trump is an idiot. I don't. He is in the process of pivoting to the center. Which makes the Hillary/Bernie problem more acute. 

The GOP has a large bench of right centrist candidates as alternatives to Trump. The Democrats? Not so much.

The only Democratic left center candidate, I can think of today, that is capable of beating Trump is older than Trump. His name is Joe Biden. Biden also has something just as important as being left center. He is a fighter and a street brawler. He would be able to go toe-to-toe with Trump when Trump goes into rough politicking. Finally, Biden is a real-blue collar guy who can appeal to white blue collar voters. Trump can successfully pretend he cares about blue collar whites. While Biden doesn't have to pretend. That's who he is. And voters would see that.

Am I saying Joe Biden should run for president in 2020? Yes and no. I think he should, but that is not my decision. What I am saying, is that the Democratic Party needs to think of its nominee in 2020 as someone who passes the Biden test. The person must be a centrist. The person needs to have blue collar bonafides. And the person needs the temperament to be more presidential than Trump, with the wherewithals to verbally punch him in the gut.  


The Problem Isn't Trump - Four-Dimensional History

by John Jazwiec

I couldn't keep up with all the events in August. I didn't know what to write. I was trying to grapple with what the bigger picture is/was. The following are my thoughts. 

There is a retired DePaul University professor, who argues that history has four dimensions - tradition, vision, time and place - and they all interact and influence. 

Let's take Martin Luther King for example. If you were trying to explain why he was important to a young student today in China, you couldn't properly make them understand, unless you told them a four-dimensional story. 

First, let's start with place. MLK's story only makes sense in the US. Next, time. MLK's story took place at a unique time. Finally, tradition and vision. MLK and his influence - at a certain juncture of time and place - was an internal and external struggle between the traditions of African-Americans and how people viewed those traditions. 

Which brings me back to the history of us today. How will people explain it, hundreds of years from now? Of course I can't predict the future, but I can describe today's four-dimensions. 

Time. The world has always changed; mostly through violence. But the world has changed historically rapidly - from the late 20th century to today - and it has been less violent. If I had to put a label on the time we live in, it would be something like "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders". This has come about from three main forces. The first is technological. Computing and the internet have enabled unprecedented information flow across the word. But they also have enabled unprecedented tribalism within a country, where such like minded people, never would have had a chance to congregate. The second force, is the drive to produce more for less and sell it for less. Prior to the late 20th century, profits came from steadily growing prices. Now profits come from ways to cut costs of production and increasing demand by lowering prices. The third force is the most overlooked - the lack of world-wide violence. One can get caught up in the headlines of Syria, Iraq and terrorism to name a few. But the world has never been more peaceful than it is today. Without a peaceful world, the other two forces are not enough to create today's "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders".

Place. The US is the world's most powerful economic and military country. It is physically isolated from most of the world by two vast oceans. It has one border to its north - Canada - that has cultural/economic similarities and has been an ally for two hundred years. It has one border to its south - Mexico - where there is less cultural/economic similarities, but nonetheless has been peaceful since the beginning of the 20th century. Through NAFTA, and tourism, many Americans - of a business nature and of a non-business nature - are familiar enough to interact with Mexico. So, the intersection of time - with "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders", and place - within the economic powerhouse of the world, is a self-reinforcing relationship.

Tradition. The US is the melting pot of the world. The country's success, in no small order, has been the assimilation of generations of immigrants - from a population of 100 million to 300 million in the last 100 years - who drive economic growth from being new producers and new consumers. A car in the driveway of every house. That is how most Americans have seen themselves since the end of World War II. There is a fairly-distributed economic upper class, middle class and lower class. Each economic class, can dream of and achieve, moving up in class and/or remaining, in the case of the upper class. Finally, a rising tide lifts all boats. Each economic class is either positively or negatively impacted by overall economic growth or contraction respectively. 

Vision. Vision is defined as how each person views tradition, through time and place. Too many Americans - place - have a negative view of time. "Darwinistic mass commercialization without borders" isn't a particular good time to live through. Today, too many Americans view its traditions with either skepticism or downright contempt. I might view immigration, through a traditional lens, due to what I do for a living. But many more Americans view immigration as a threat. A car in every driveway of every house also isn't a shared view today.What is a shared common view, is a fairly-distributed economic class system is now non-existent. And so goes the idea of a rising tide lifting all boats. To simplify the prevailing national vision, is to acknowledge an unsustainable continuing yawning of the wage gap. 

When you consider a time of "darwinistic mass commercialization without borders", in a place where traditions are falling by the wayside, being reenforced by electronic tribalism, you inevitably can see why too many people are angry and/or have given up. 

You can also see why such people took a chance on Trump. Trump isn't the problem and he isn't likely the solution. If HE isn't the solution, what comes next?

In summary, the US is the most powerful economic and military country in the world. But its main threat doesn't come from foreign foes. It comes from a wage gap that divides the 1% from the 99%. It comes from a continuing cycle of hope and change devolving into pessimism and the status quo. It comes from the tribalism that pits the 99% against each other instead of the 1%. And one is left to wonder - when people step back from Trump and his news cycles - will the author of our destruction be ourselves. 


The Effect Of The Missing Obama On Our Children

by John Jazwiec

Caroline Randall Williams - someone who was too young to vote until 2016 - asked for former President Barack Obama to make a return to public life and weigh in on the current administration in an op-ed in today's New York Times. 

The reality, is that Obama can't return to public life for two reasons. It breaks precedent and it would only inflame Trump's supporters, which would be counterproductive.

But I do sympathize with Williams, as I do with my own children.

Williams, again like my children, thought Obama's moral clarity, temperament, empathy and his ability to be a hands-on healer-in-chief, was normal because that is what they grew up with. 

Trump, as been said many times, is the polar opposite of Obama. So our children feel whipsawed and abandoned.

I would tell Ms. Williams, just as I do with my children, that what they saw as normal under Obama, was in reality extraordinary. Obama was JFK without the baggage. Obama was our children's perfectly realized national father figure.

Now they have to grow up and learn to live under an imperfect creepy older uncle. 

And the only way to "fix it", is to become more politically active and to vote. That's the only way to get rid of this older uncle.

But I would also say, they have to ultimately accept a new president that isn't the likes of Obama. Obama was a once-in-a-generation president. He and/or his facsimile isn't coming back. So don't waste the time waiting for a perfectly realized national father figure. Just vote for a better uncle or bigger brother or sister.


If Trump Is Really Innocent, His Strategy Makes Total Sense

by John Jazwiec

I view Trump through the prism of what drives him - what is best for Trump.

Only Trump knows if he has something to hide. Let's assume he is completely innocent in regards to Russia and his finances. 

By attacking Republicans and placing the blame on them for (a) not building his wall (Josh Green's new book is a must read - in it, he describes how Trump's advisors kept immigration simple for Trump to stay on message, by reducing its complexity to a rhetorical "wall"), (b) failing to repeal/replace Obamacare, (c) not enacting tax reform, and (d) shutting down the government, he sees two possible outcomes. The best-case scenario is for Trump Republicans to primary establishment Republicans and remake the party. The worst-case scenario is for the Democrats to take over Congress.

Since Trump is innocent, in this assumption, he has a ready-made answer to why he couldn't get anything done in his first term. While much has been made about his 36% favorable rating, that means nothing when it comes to the 2020 primary and the general election. Trump is polling 30 to 40 points higher than any GOP challenger. And in the general election, he not only has a solid base, but I don't see a Democrat that could beat him except for Obama. And that isn't constitutionally possible. 

In addition, his base - and he knows it - doesn't get any economic benefit for the repeal and replace of Obamacare. They just hate it in the abstract. How about tax reform? The GOP sees tax reform as a way to lower taxes on the wealthy. Trump's voters want tax reform in the abstract. But again, they would see no economic gain.

If Trump is really innocent, his strategy makes total sense for someone who puts himself ahead of everything else.


Phoenix - The Original Sin Was Booking The Gig

by John Jazwiec

I once heard Jerry Seinfeld say "that a comedian's food is laughs".

I suppose that's why old rock groups keep playing. They miss the cheers.

The reaction from what Trump said in Phoenix, rightfully so, was unpresidential and bat sh*t crazy. But the original sin was booking the gig in the first place.

If you go see someone like Tom Petty, you expect him to play all his greatest hits. That's what the gymnasium-size Trump crowd wanted too. And the Donald was more than happy to deliver the performance they wanted. 

This is a president, that has to be delivered every day, a file of news that is flattering to him. And that is not enough.

Trump misses the cheers. His staff knows that. And they had to allow him to perform, even though it was unproductive in every respect, because they have the thankless job of trying to manage a performer's volatile and depressive mental state. 


How To Effectively Lead

by John Jazwiec

Perhaps, my greatest problem with Trump, is he doesn't know how to lead. 

I have very different ideas on how to lead. Some are common sense and some may seem counter-intuitive.

The following is my leadership philosophy - 

Clearly articulate a strategy. Everyone needs to understand what the problem is and how you want to solve it. There is no substitute for establishing how the world is and how it can be made better. 

Clearly establishing the message of a strategy. There are many forms to communication. But the best form of communication is the power of story. A clearly articulated narrative - of what the problem is, why it is urgent to solve it and how it will make the world better - is the necessary platform for all internal and external activities.

Put the right people in the right chairs. No strategy, whether it is right, compelling and/or clearly articulated, will work unless a leader is able to recruit/retain self-motivated creative people. 

Guide perhaps, but get the hell out of the way. With the right strategy, the right foundation of communication and the right people, it is imperative to allow everyone to own the movement. They need the freedom to execute it without being micro-managed. At the same time, a leader has to accept the mundane job of flying at 50,000 feet - leaving themselves out, on purpose, of what are the more exciting jobs of tactical daily activities - so that he or she can help guide and mentor periodic adjustments that are required. 

It's not about you, but them. A leader should be a servant. The job is about how you can serve all stakeholders. How you can remove roadblocks. How you can communicate so everyone - although there are layers of organization and specialty required to function - understands what has gone on each week and what is going on the next. A leader works for the people, not the other way around. 

Don't take yourself too seriously. No one wants to work for a goofball. But being yourself and having people feel free to make fun of you, is the best way to break down barriers. 

Let's now view Trump through this lens. 

Trump has a slogan of "Making America Great Again". But he lacks one big part of clearly establishing a strategy and communicated it: how it is going to make the world better.

Trump to his credit has put some of the right people in the right chairs, but he has no comprehension of getting the hell out of the way. 

Trump doesn't get it's not about you, it's about them. Everything Trump does has one constituency: Trump. 

Perhaps the part he really doesn't get - most likely due to his deep-seated insecurities - is to not take himself too seriously. Can you picture Trump at the WH Correspondence Dinner, being lampooned and laughing at himself?

Someone one that lacks a plan to make the world better, lacks a will to let others shine, is incapable of seeing his job as a servant and makes himself inaccessible because he can't laugh off his faults - which is what makes us all human - can't effectively lead.  


Trump Is Devoid Of The American Character Of Morals And Love

by John Jazwiec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qYnhD4wQqM

Short of censure, Bob Corker of Tennessee, denounced Trump yesterday - and as one of his earliest and largest supporter - it was striking.

The military chiefs of staff have denounced Trump's racist comments. Business leaders have turned their back on Trump due to his racist comments. 

Heather Heyer's mother is refusing to take a call from Trump. 

James Murdoch has denounced Trump and donated $1 million to the ADL. Fox's Sheppard Smith denounced Trump on Fox.

Trump tweeted a response to the Barcelona terrorist attack pointing out an old wives tale of General Pershing - in the Philippines executing Muslims with pig blood on bullets - that is racially repugnant to Muslims and Jews.

Simply put, Trump fundamentally misunderstands the American character of the nation and what the world counts on. That's a genie that is almost impossible to put back in the bottle. 

We count on moral clarity and love.

Love as a force is so much more powerful than hate. It's a tool that leaders understand. Trump doesn't love anyone but himself.

An ordinary citizen - Heather Heyer's mother - has forgiven her daughter's killer. Charlottesville sang songs of loves in a moving ceremony. 

Maybe you have seen the movie Invictus. It is the story of love overcoming hate. As inspiring as the movie is, the real reaction of the people of South African puts a finer point on the affect of Nelson Mandala's use of love to bring together a fractured nation. 

In Invictus, Mandala used the sport of Rugby - a sport beloved by the whites and hated by non-whites - as one way to bring a nation together. He used other methods. But when you listen to the white Rugby players tell the story of Mandela and its ordinary citizens - the real one's and not the actors - you can see the power of morality and love.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4vlFQA-t9w


Trump's Strategy

by John Jazwiec

Trump has a strategy. I am not sure it is a winning one. But he does have one.

First of all, behind the backdrop of the events of Charlottesville, we know Mueller has Trump's tax returns. If we know it, Trump knows it. That puts a fighter like Trump, in a position of conducting a scorched earth policy.

Step 1. Sow the seeds of insurrection. Trump maybe a racist. But he knows that he has a powerful ally in militant whites capable of spreading armed chaos throughout the nation. 

Step 2. Put the GOP on the spot. Tweeting against GOP politicians is a divide and conquer strategy. What about his legislative "agenda"? Trump doesn't have a legislative agenda. Trump's "agenda" is Trump staying in office.

Step 3. Voting commission. Too much written space has been dedicated to voter suppression. What Trump really wants is to delay and/or "temporarily" suspend the 2020 election.

Step 4. If there is wide-spread insurrection and his voting commission concludes there was election fraud, Trump will seek the power to declare a state of emergency. No elections. Marshal law. Citizen surveillance that would make the Patriot Act blush. He will say the "alt-left" is infiltrated by terrorists and seek the power to identify his enemies and persecute them. 

Step 5. The most risky strategy of them all. Pick a large enough war to wag the dog. 

Mueller has Trump's tax returns. They may show illegalities. They may only show embarrassing details. But steps 1 through 5, would render Mueller's work inconsequential. Trump is betting on people rallying to the flag in times of crisis and supporting the commander-in-chief, regardless of his "relative peccadilloes".

Anyways - whether it works of not - that's Trump's strategy as far as I can decipher. 


Why Defcon 4 And Not 1 Yet

by John Jazwiec

I am advocating censure as a response to Trump. Just like the military term, it sends a signal, very short of war. 

To those advocating the removal of Trump - Defcon 1 - I think it is important to recognize why there needs to be a suitable amount of time before taking any action against Trump's presidency. 

Trump's base maybe eroding. But the militant white stands ready to defend him. 

Defcon 1, right now, would trigger riots and death short of a civil war. The 60% of people that don't support Trump are less likely to be armed, than the fraction of the 36% that support him.

So it is imperative that Trump is warned in stronger terms than before, so hopefully he gets the message. 

That of course is not likely to change Trump. In that case, Washington needs to (a) gain the broad consensus of every American that is not a radical that Trump is harming this country, (b) methodically prepare and pass legislation to ban the hate groups who are going to be descending in every city and (c) carefully prepares a serious counter-insurgency to defend the vast majority of its citizens.

To quote Churchill, "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning".


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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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