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One Of The Best Days Of My Life

by John Jazwiec

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The tragic death of Chester Bennington has been a family loss. Everyone that knows me - even people who read this blog and can see how prominent Linkin Park is featured in the title - knows the music of Linkin Park has been an influence on me and has given my family such joy from their albums and concerts. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0qOMyUyW_U

This concert event - although in Milton Keynes England - was the exact music set we had watched in Chicago. Anyone with the time to watch, can see how complex, inspirational and how different Linkin Park's music was. Seeing them in concert, was like seeing an orchestra, combined with a unique communal spiritual experience. 

The day started with a haircut and a look of Bennington. In for a penny, in for a dollar, I gladly let my daughter paint my fanboy face. My wife and daughter looked beautiful. We first watched a band called Saosin and got their autograph and talked to them. Then a band - one I have long forgotten - came to the main stage. Due to an illness, Bennington substituted as their lead singer, belting out his voice an hour before Linkin Park performed their set. In between came My Chemical Romance. 

Bennington was the best singer I have ever seen live. Linkin Park live was quantumly better than their albums. I don't know what it's like to be in a trance, but their live concert took me to a place I had never been before. It was one of the best days of my life.

Selfishly, I know that Linkin Park - without Bennington - is no longer a concert for us to see this summer.

But myself and my family's heart goes out to Bennington's wife and his six children. Your husband and children should know that he was loved. We also hope that in his death people take depression and suicide even more seriously. 

One song he sung seems to be most appropriate today and tomorrow - 

When my time comes
Forget the wrong that I've done
Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed
And don't resent me
And when you're feeling empty
Keep me in your memory
Leave out all the rest
Leave out all the rest

We will Chester.


The Two Political America's - Abstraction Vs. Transactional

by John Jazwiec

I am not qualified to opine on the drama in Washington. 

But I have given quite a bit of thought to the present political divides of America. I have come to the conclusion, that red and blue states are not the divide. Neither are cities, suburbia and rural. It's not Republican vs. Democrat. Nor is it North or South. And it sure isn't intelligence and education.

No. The election of Trump, has shown me at least, that his support comes from the differences between "political" abstraction and transaction.

Generally speaking, transaction is familial and tribal; while abstraction is intellectual, personal and goes beyond one's self. Transaction is borne out of our daily dopamine's and/or fears, while abstraction is a product, not bound by time, that dares us to look beyond the day and seeks a higher level of reflection.  

To make an important distinction, let's apply this generality to someone like myself - who has the time, the proclivity and the business-need to focus on politics and business - but doesn't have the time to focus on science and climate change. On such latter matters, I am a "transactionalist", while on the former, I am an "abstractionist". As a science/climate change transactionalist, I am not tuned into every panel discussion, research and media story. I am only interested in the water line of my house and what today's weather is. 

Pivoting back to voter political divides, Transactional Conservatives support the GOP and Trump, while Transactional Liberals support the Democratic party. From my experience, Transactional Conservatives voted and support Trump because of their opposition to abortion and concerns over immigration, while Transactional Liberals support the Democratic party because of their real-time social concerns and/or depend on the federal government for financial aid. 

For example, I have a highly educated dentist who is way smarter than me. He is a transactionist by profession. He goes from patient to patient all day, and then goes home to eat and relax. He is predisposed to being a Transactional Conservative by the nature of his profession and where he lives. 

As another example, I have LGBT, Muslim and racial-minority friends. And some are employed in transaction professions. Regardless, they are Transactional Liberals. For good reason, they have real-time social concerns. 

Either way, life-transactionalists - regardless of politics - don't read newspapers and books. They don't pay attention to daily news. They don't study current events, except to cherry pick stories that reenforce their views and voting decisions. And their familial and tribal ties - reference groups - are the most powerful glue that binds them to their politics.

I would estimate that the country is made up of, and has always been made up of, 40% Conservative Transactionalists and 40% Liberal Transactionalists. The remaining 20% are political abstractionalists. 

There are traditional intellectual conservatives that have broke from Trump like George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Joe Scarborough. They fein breaks with their party. But what they are really saying, is that in the abstract, they find Trump's behavior and political competence unacceptable. 

Either way, abstractionalists - who read books, who follow the news, and who listen to panel discussions - make up a political no-man's land of the last 20%. 

So, taking this to the next level, two conclusions can be made: It will take a great deal of time and take a real negative impact to Conservative Transactionalist's lives to break from Trump.

Secondly, in a general election, abstractionalists will weigh Trump vs other candidates and make the least bad decision. Depended on the other candidate - I don't see anyone that is ready to go - a coalition of Trump's Transactional Conservatives and more than 1/2 of abstractionists, along with the power of the incumbency is more than enough for Trump to be a two-term president. 

The reader can debate if the drama in Washington will critically damage Trump's presidency. What is not debatable, in my opinion, is the arithmetic of our political divides and why that helps Trump.


What I Think Today 07.12.17

by John Jazwiec

I haven't had the time to write a post in a week. Nor would I know what it would have been about. 

So I will just give you my reactions - perhaps unique - to swirly events.

  • I don't ask much from the federal government. But maintaining a strong military and a strong diplomatic/trade deal engine are two things I care about.
  • Trump was all alone at the G20. Trade deals are now being done without the US. Case in point: EU and Japan. China and Germany are ascendent. We are now entering pre-Teddy Roosevelt territory. That isn't acceptable.
  • Never waste a crisis. North Korea makes provocative and dangerous moves. Trump tweets. And nothing is said at the G20? No announcements? That isn't acceptable. 
  • The Senate voted 98 to 2 in favor to punish Russia. You probably heard about that. You might have also heard the House hasn't voted yet. But one of the senators that didn't vote for the bill was Bernie Sanders. Rand Paul voted against it because ... he is Rand Paul. But Sanders's explanation of why he voted nay doesn't make sense. Just saying ...
  • The White House is leaking all over the place. Is it too much to ask that they get their messaging right?
  • Democrats and Republicans should be concerned with the potential of collusion between the Trump campaign and the WH. Emails and hacking may sound like tech gibberish. But they are at least as unacceptable as physically smashing the doors of a campaign office and stealing documents WHO EVER was responsible.
  • Having said that - I have pointed out before, that you should be watching the daily Gallup Presidential Approval poll - Trump has maintained his 40% approval rating. He has somewhere between 75 to 85% approval among GOP voters. His voters simply don't care about all the points made above. 
  • This maintaining of this democracy is ultimately determined by voters. You don't like what is happening? Then go and vote when the time comes.

North Korea - The Option You Will Never Hear Of

by John Jazwiec

Realpolitik is about understanding what motivates countries and solving problems that are not a zero sum game.

North Korea knows the US wants family - three generations - regime change. Hence they view having a kinetic strategy as a deterrent.

China doesn't want a unified Korea. Sans North Korea, the US has as much control over the shipping lanes of the China Sea as China does. The US has a military presence in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and many other countries surrounding China. Finally, any US/World military action (a) would mean millions of refugees entering a China that is already overpopulated and (b) would force the Chinese to be forced to "man-up" militarily to save face. 

Sure, China provides 90% of North Korean imports. But they also pay North Korean military leaders to remain loyal to a militarized and separate North Korea. 

The US doesn't want North Korea to attack the US with ICBMs with nuclear destruction.

So, the option you have never heard of, is for China to use their influence for regime change. Quid pro quo, the US would have to support a conventional militarized and independent North Korea.


Stop Pretending This Is Normal And Right For US II

by John Jazwiec

Your commander in chief tweeting on a Sunday ... 

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/881503147168071680


Stop Pretended This Is Normal And Right For The US

by John Jazwiec

The juxtaposition of the nation celebrating its great history and what is happening in the White House couldn't be more striking.

Trump's latest peevish behavior isn't normal, it isn't inconsistent and it's hurting our nation. They say the presidency reveals the real man. I say his tweeting reveals the real man's id. 

At the heart of the problem, whatever phycological term people try and use, is a person who only care about himself, in a job that requires he care about all 300 million of its citizens. 

I grow increasingly frustrated with words that describe the president as "disappointing" and "naive to politics". Trump is not only the commander and chief of this nation, but he is the head of state. And the latter role requires a level of decorum that is historically consistent in manner and tone. 

What POTUS says and how POTUS acts impacts our standing in the world and it impacts what is normal for our children. 

Trump's latest disgusting misogynistic tweets shouldn't be surprising. Again whatever phycological term you want to use, he has some kind of disdain for women. One's that are not worthy of the better half of its citizens, not to mention our daughters, mothers and wives. 

I can't think of any job in the private or public sector that wouldn't have resulting in being fired for making such vile statements. 

Than to find that Trump and his enablers tried to extort two cable show hosts to go easy on him, or he would let his friend at the Nation Inquirer publish lies, is beyond the pale.

It's not normal and it isn't right for the US.

Carl Bernstein - of Watergate reporting fame - has brought an air of caution when talking about Trump's Russian investigation probe by Bob Mueller. Why? Because Bernstein has been there before. And knows what an incredibly high bar is required for Trump's presidency to be put in jeopardy.

So his recent comments - specifically calling out Trump's "malignant presidency" - are noteworthy. Bernstein is not talking about anything legal. Rather he is calling for the press - who gain largesse from reporting Trump's various weird actions - to begin to report that the military and the leadership of the Republican party increasingly feel that Trump isn't intellectually nor temperamentally fit for the presidency and to protect the country. Bernstein says that such national leaders were concerned about such matters after the election but now their worst fears have been confirmed.

Something isn't right. It's worrisome when a president weirdly tweets a personal vendeta, when he should be busy doing the people's work. It's worrisome when a president is accused of not grasping the details of health care legislation. It's bizarre when Exxon's ex-CEO is frustrated as Secretary of State because of even more bizarrely being usurped by a president's son-in-law. It's worrisome when the Russians, who have been proven to have attacked our 2016 election, and will attack future elections, and the president refuses to accept, acknowledge and pass the Senate's bill to punish the combatant. It's worrisome - regardless of your political ideology - that a GOP controlled House and Senate hasn't passed any legislation in its first 180 days with a president that undercuts them. It's worrisome that the G20 meeting next week is already steeling for a president of the US who isn't respected and must be stood up against.

So, lets stop pretending that this is normal. It's not. Let's take a moment this holiday weekend to stop fighting about partisan issues and ask ourselves, is all of this going to ultimately harm what people fought for in 1776 and all the military parades that commemorate the fighting since?


Obama's Caution II?

by John Jazwiec

I am a registered Republican and donor who voted for Obama twice. Why? Two reasons. The first was that Obama was a once-in-a-generation candidate. I have noted that Obama was the first Northern Democrat to win the WH - twice - since LBJ lost the South. Obama even carried Indiana and North Carolina in his first victory. Hardly states that are flaming liberal. So, I believe that myself, as well as many independents and Republicans, saw Obama more as an intellectual centrist, than a populist liberal. Democrats: Moving to the left is a disastrous strategy and totally misreads why people voted for Obama.

The second reason I voted for Obama twice, was his cool handling of the banking crisis, the Great Recession, his winding down of two wars, and his willingness to risk his presidency with two risky moves: the Bin Laden mission and taking on health care reform.

Obama probably won the 2008 election when he came to Washington - and by all accounts - took the de facto lead to work with Paulson, Bernanke and the Democrats. He was bashed by the left (and the right just due to spite) when he supported TARP and supported the banks by not touching their compensation systems. I know that might sound like too-close-to-Wall Street sensitivity. But it wasn't. TARP injected capital into banks using non-voting preferred stock. Banks can only stay as healthy as is their compensation systems so they can retain their best talent. Obama made a tough choice. And it wasn't his last. By far. But TARP was a success and people forget how screwed/scary the US was in 2008 and into early 2009.

With the Great Recession now a distant memory, due to our day-trading news cycles, many voters have forgotten the stimulus plan and the saving of the auto industry. How fast did people forget? Trump winning Michigan, Indiana and Ohio - all states that depend in large part on the auto industry - should answer that question. Another forgotten account was the winding down of two unpopular wars. It was a campaign promise. One that Obama kept. 

While we have the voyeuristic luxury of appreciating JFK's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis, we were able to see in realtime, the difficult and right decision Obama made in taking out Bin Laden. Like Kennedy, it was Obama's intellectual curiosity and deliberate decision-making that made the difference. Essentially he risked his presidency for us and the world. 

Which brings me to health care reform. I think every CEO in the country would tell you that they would rather have healthcare management off their plates. But a nation health care system - despite the left's arguments - is one I can't support. So Obama, the centrist, took the Republican counter-plan to ClintonCare, and ran with that. Call him naive in assuming the GOP would go along with the plan. But the fact of the matter is they not only tuned him out, but were able to use his legislative actions as an effective political tool against him and his party. Nonetheless, Obama - again risking his presidency and stubborn in his resolve to make good a campaign pledge - was able to come up with health care reform that not only eluded his predecessors but was deemed to be constitutional by the Supreme Court. Today, despite all the odds, the majority of Americans now want ObamaCare and want it improved.  

My qualms with the GOP have grown over the last eight years. But trying to push tax cuts for people like me, calling it health care reform and harming the least among us, is not only nonsensical, it is politically tone deaf. For me, it is just another reminder, that the right policies and politics, are always in the much maligned center. 

I wrote this about Obama's caution a few days ago -

Obama's caution - rooted in intellectual process and integrity to a fault - shouldn't be a story of a flawed president. Rather it should be a stark contrast with a new president with no intellectual process and questionable integrity. 

In the short-term everything is measured in contrast. But even in the short-term, according to a new Marist poll, here is how Obama is now seen - 

Screen Shot 2017-06-28 at 11.49.54 AM

 

The country is about 30% Democratic and 30% Republican. The rest are independents. That means that Obama - the "maligned cautionary president" - has a lot more than Democrat support. People like me. People that miss his intellectual process and his integrity.

Of course, such a contrast could be explained by comparing Obama to someone as challenged as Trump. But I believe - for the reasons explained in this post - that history will be kind to our 44th president. That's why I voted for a Democrat for the first time. That's why it irritates me, that members of his own party, have been willing to throw him under the bus. That's why I don't have any confidence in the Democratic Party which wants to lurch to the left. And that's why I can only hope that my party moves back more to the center. 


The Best Way For The GOP To Kill Obamacare

by John Jazwiec

Hint: It isn't to vote for the Senate plan. McConnell is giving GOP senator's their out. They can't vote for it because they are being rushed. 

No, the best way to kill Obamacare for Republicans - to save them from the voters and keep their jobs - is to continue to keep Obamacare paralyzed. 

Healthcare companies have to plan for the future. By definition they are in the business of risk management. So with Obamacare under assault, they have been and will be leaving state's healthcare markets and/or raising premiums.

Under such weight - a government plan is only as good as it claims to be (see US Treasury Bills) - Obamacare will naturally become unpalatable to voters.

Then the GOP can tell voters that the problem with their healthcare is the Democrat's fault. That's the best way for the GOP to kill Obamacare. 


Obama's Caution?

by John Jazwiec

It is tempting for anti-Obama enemies to gloat over his caution in handling the Russian voting crisis as reported in the Washington Post. Add Trump to the list. See his tweets slamming the ex-President. Our dear leader, is intimating that Russian election meddling - and Obama's caution - was to help Hillary Clinton?

It is fair for people to see Obama as too-careful. But his carefulness - not wanting to put his thumb down on the scale - is the way two-term presidential lame ducks have long handled the general election limbo.

For example, JFK - a Northern Democrat when the South was Democratic (the only Northern Democrat to win the presidency in the modern era until Obama, but had to cheat and only eked out a win, when Obama won handily - twice) blatantly lied about a missile gap. Eisenhower didn't refute it, because he didn't want to interfere in the 1960 election.  

Bush 43 also kept his mouth shut during the 2008 election as to not interfere.

Obama's handling of the Russian election crisis may also have come from an abundant of caution. From August until early October he had to make sure the intelligence was right. He also labored on its impact, on a heavily contested election, where Trump had already called the election "rigged". 

What is striking about Obama's approach to problems is his tendency to foster debate and take more time to make decisions. Fostering debate means people maintain the strength of their different convictions after the debate has come to an end. Nonetheless, I for one, appreciated a president who took his time and didn't shoot too quickly.

Which is in stark contrast to our current president who studies nothing and tweets events with no due diligence.

I guess it all comes down to where you land. I might like slow and steady two-hands on the wheel Obama. The reader might like a bull in a china shop presumably to make changes for a greater good. But for what good?

Like Obama or not - the right and the left both see him as flawed in retrospect - but I understood his politics, his subsequent actions and his integrity in office.

But who understands the bull in a china shop's politics? We have no legislation to mark his actions. And there is no integrity in the presidential office again. 

Obama's caution - rooted in intellectual process and integrity to a fault - shouldn't be a story of a flawed president. Rather it should be a stark contrast with a new president with no intellectual process and questionable integrity.


Why The GOP's ACA Wasn't Planned To Pass

by John Jazwiec

Forget all of the news regarding the Senate presenting "their" ACA (repeal/replace) to a vote. It's simply a waste of time.

Mitch McConnell "secretly" drafted the bill. Everyone's hair was on fire. Democrats and Republicans. McConnell is a lot of things, but one is not being strategic. McConnell plays a long game.

It isn't a slam dunk in the Senate. But I do expect it to pass. Why? Because McConnell's strategy - one that helps the GOP party - requires it.

This Senate bill has to go back to the House. The House couldn't have passed its own "Rose Garden" version, without making their bill satisfy the Freedom Caucus. 

The Senate's version is far too moderate to pass the House.

This all sets up as a strategy to satisfy GOP voter's demands to repeal ObamaCare, while knowing any such legislation - if passed- will backfire as it helps the wealthy and takes away benefits from the non-wealthy. 

GOP House members will blame the GOP Senate. The GOP Senate will blame the GOP House. 

"We heard you loud and clear that you wanted us to repeal ObamaCare. We worked hard to make that happen. But the House and Senate couldn't make it happen, because of the procedural dynamics". 

Is this a perfect strategy for the GOP? No. Is there a perfect strategy for the GOP? No. Is McConnell's strategy right? Yes. It is simply the best option, of bad options, to help the GOP.


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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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