Letter from Mitt Romney to Barack Obama

This is not a real letter, but one that could be written.

Dear Mr. President,

I hope this finds you well. I know we have had our differences and I disagree with some of the positions and decisions you have made, but I want to commend you for your role in helping lower the unemployment rate to 5%. As you know, I promised during our campaign to get the unemployment rate down to 6% by the end of 2016, so you have done well on this issue. I also commend you for overseeing 68 consecutive months of job growth in our country, which has helped reduce this rate.

While I could not advocate this during the campaign, I would like to thank you for using many features of Romneycare as part of your formulation of Obamacare. I take pride that Romneycare is working well in Massachusetts helping to lower the overall mortality rate and am proud that you borrowed from my successful template. I recognize it still needs some seasoning, but Obamacare is on the right track for our country. As you know, I shared these thoughts in an interview a few weeks ago.

We still have our work cut out for us, so I hope our next President can build on these successes. By the way, our friend Newt Gingrich wanted me to pass along his thanks for getting the gas prices down so low, which was a campaign promise he made in 2012.

Best wishes for continued success,

Former Governor Mitt Romney

Ten Greatest Global Risks over Next 10 Years per World Economic Forum

Let’s face it, long term thinking is hard for most leaders and society in general. It is too far off, but we still cannot wait to plan as the cost and problems can get too large. The World Economic Forum recently produced a Global Risks Report – 2015, which highlights the greatest risks over the next eighteen months and over the next ten years.

Rather than focus on the next eighteen months, let me focus on the longer term, ten-year horizon, as the risks are far more dramatic in impact as many are planetary in scope.

  1. Water crisis
  2. Failure of climate change adaption
  3. Profound social instability
  4. Food crisis
  5. Extreme weather events
  6. High structural un- or under-employment
  7. Large-scale cyber attacks
  8. State collapse or crisis
  9. Major biodiversity and ecosystem collapse
  10. Failure of national governance

Water tops the list as it is becomingly an increasingly dear commodity worldwide. I have noted before our energy production must bring into the equation more the impact on water sources. Moving to renewable energy sources which are not water intensive is as important as their positive impact on climate change. And, climate change will only make water and other problems like the food crisis, extreme weather events, and ecosystem collapses even more problematic with increased droughts, forest fires and floods with stalled weather systems.

The profound social instability and high structural un- and under-employment are contributors to our global poverty problem. Other top ten risks are also contributors such as state or national governance failures or the climate impacted natural crises. Those in poverty tend to more impacted by these issues as they have so few choices. Plus, I would season the ability to address these issues with overall corruption, where monies, services and goods intended to help are steered to the pockets of leaders and oligarchies of influential people.

These are the questions we need to be asking politicians and candidates about. If they are unprepared to address these issues or deny their existence or importance, then we need to vote for other folks who are prepared. These problems are already rearing their ugly heads, so the time is fleeting on our ability to do things to address these problems.

A link to the 2015 Global Risks Report follows:

http://www.weforum.org/reports/global-risks-report-2015

A taste of Janis Joplin

If you ask people today if they ever heard of Janis Joplin, it would be a safe bet that many would not know who she is. And, for those who have heard of her, many of those would likely remember her for a wonderful rendition of Kris Kristofferson’s song “Me and Bobby McGee.” While that song is marvelous, Joplin is one of the most unique, soulful and brassy singers to whom we have ever had the chance to listen.

Like two others artists of her era (Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison), she died of a drug over dose at the far too young age of 27, the same age Morrison and Hendrix died. She came to prominence during the flower child movement to San Francisco as the lead singer for a band called Big Brother and the Holding Company. So, her experimentation with drugs was not unusual for where she made a name for herself.

Her songs were powerful vignettes that would rock the house. “Me and Bobby McGee,” is a quieter version of her splendid talent, but she does provide glimpses of her soulful voice therein. Here are sample lyrics of three songs that better reveal her talent. At the end of this post is a link to a blog that will let you listen to these three and other songs.

Piece of My Heart

Come on, come on, come on, come on

Didn’t I make you feel like you were the only one, yeah
I said didn’t I give you nearly everything that a woman possibly can
Honey you know that I did
Well each time I tell myself that I, I think I’ve had enough
Oh, I am gonna show you baby, a woman can be tough

I want you to come on, come on, come on, come on
And take it, take another little piece of my heart now, baby

This is her most powerful song, which is about the man she loves treating her poorly. She wants to stay, but she wants him to recognize that he is taking another piece of her heart each time. And, clearly she says a “woman can be tough.”

Move Over

You say that it’s over baby, Lord,
You say that it’s over dear,
But still you hang around me, come on,
Won’t you move over.

You know that I need a man, honey,
You know that I need a man,
But when I ask you to you just say
That you think you can.

Please don’tcha do it to me babe, no!
Please don’tcha do it to me baby,
Either take the love I offer

This is my favorite Joplin song, although the other two noted here are very close. In this case, she is tired of the man saying he will change and is telling him to treat me better or “move over.”

Try (Just a little bit harder)

Try, try, try just a little bit harder
So I can love, love, love him, I tell myself
Cause I’m gonna try, oh yeah, just a little bit harder
So I won’t lose, lose, lose him to nobody else, yeah.
Hey, I don’t care how long it’s gonna take ya
But if it’s a dream I don’t want No I don’t really want it
Yeah if it’s a dream I don’t want nobody to wake me.

Yeah I’m gonna try, oh yeah, just a little bit harder
So I can give, give, give, give him every bit of my soul.
I’m gonna try, oh yeah, just a little bit harder
So I can show, show, show him love with no control, yeah.

You may have noticed a trend with her singing about challenging love. Here she soulfully sings that she will give everything she has to keep her man. I think her bluesy style is ideally suited for these kinds of songs. Give these three songs a listen (and view) from the attached link. If you are enthralled as I am, listen to her versions of “Summertime,” “Cry Baby,” “Down On Me,” and a fun song called “Mercedes-Benz” as well.

Please do enjoy her immense talent and unique style. And, if you listen to her while driving, please do use cruise control or you might find yourself speeding.

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=janis+joplin&qpvt=janis+joplin&FORM=VDRE

Simpson-Bowles still gets the conversation started

In honor of November 8 being Deficit Day, meaning our US revenue for the year has run out in covering our expenses, I think it is important to revisit some of the saner voices on these issues. Former Republican Senator Alan Simpson who partnered with former Chief of Staff (for Bill Clinton) Erskine Bowles to lead a committee to address the deficit, has penned an interesting editorial. In essence, he is critical of the various tax plans submitted by GOP candidates for president all of which would materially increase the deficit. He notes they are so poorly conceived, that there are not enough legitimate cuts to overcome the loss of revenue.

Simpson knows of what he speaks. The Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Plan combined strategic spending cuts with revenue increases to reduce the deficit. It was well conceived, but not perfect, as nothing is. People found faults with elements of it, which is a reason it did not move forward. Yet, it was a terrific conversation starter. It was something to work with and modify, as needed. And, it spoke to the need to increase revenue along with spending cuts.

One of the issues conservative folks have with the plan is the revenue increases, but let me state three truisms, two of which are universal, and one that applies to the United States.

  • Of course, people don’t want to pay higher taxes, but they do realize a need to pay for expenses.
  • Any politician can get elected saying they will reduce taxes. But, that promise should not be confused with good stewardship.
  • Per the Paris based Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the US is one of the least taxed countries of 33 countries who have participated in analyses dating back over forty years. In fact, the US is well beneath the median tax rate of the recurring OECD surveys.

The deficit is important and we need to be smart with what we cut and actually increase spending in some areas. Yet, we must garner more revenue or we will never get there. There is a reason President George W. Bush fired his Treasury secretary as he argued against the Bush tax cuts. It should be noted the budget was balanced by President Clinton the last several years of his presidency, which was handed over to Bush.

While President Obama has done many good things, he is an imperfect president, like they all are. One of my biggest criticisms of the president is not embracing the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Reduction Plan and say let’s start with this. It would have been a great conversation starter and still could be.

 

The Beast

In an interview last week, one of the infamous Koch Brothers was lamenting the demise of civil discourse in the Republican Party. For those who do not follow politics, the Koch Brothers have used their vast fortunes made primarily from fossil fuel industries to advance conservative ideas. They have done this by funding candidates directly and through Americans for Prosperity, its action committee.

Charles Koch noted that party has disintegrated into one where false bravado, accusations and blame have replaced discussion over the relative merits of ideas. As an Independent voter, who has been both a Democrat and Republican, I concur with his assessment. The big problem with his concerns is he and his brother helped create and feed The Beast that is dragging down the party. They funded and kept alive the efforts of the Tea Party. Absent their significant help, The Beast would not have flourished like it has today.

Through the stubbornness of The Beast, there is a “my-way or the highway” attitude which is very unhealthy for the party. Yet, my main concern is the lack of collaboration is harmful to our country and planet. It would be one thing if the Tea Party was filled with an abundance of good workable ideas, yet that is not the case. I have written before that the GOP is on the wrong side of more issues than not these days and the Tea Party has an even more extreme position. This is largely due to limiting news sources and rhetoric to a very biased and spin-doctored lens, where successes outside of this view are not reported at all or painted poorly.

And, to get their way, The Beast is willing to have everything come to a screeching halt. In their view, all government is bad, so therefore the government should not do anything. That is inane as there are roles for government to play that these same people benefit from. Yes, it could be more efficient and yes, we need to guard against bureaucracy, but that is where oversight comes in. And, our country has actually been much better than others about government co-investing with the private sector to do big things that the private sector cannot do alone or whose shareholders would not allow.

The Beast has every right to raise issues and concerns offering reasonable suggestions backed by data. We do not need The Beast shouting at everyone else while beating on their chest. That serves little purpose and is a poor substitute for effective discourse. So, in this instance, I agree with Charles Koch. Yet, he helped make this mess, so he should use his money to fix it, as our country is less served by false bravado.

Let it rain

We are getting the remnants of the bad rain that drenched Texas, so Eric Clapton’s song “Let it rain” seemed apropos. Thank goodness I cleaned out the gutters on the eaves of the house, as they will get a workout today. Of course, this old body is telling me three days later where climbing a ladder hurts.

Here a few rainy day random thoughts for my blogging friends to start the week:

  • I appreciate greatly the bloggers who share their poetry. I love their wordsmithing and clever eye toward the trials and tribulations we go through.
  • I love to take in the artistic talents of so many through their cameras and fingers. These shares take me on a journey whether it be tagging along on a hike or vacation or seeing the beauty of the edges of a jungle or the angst of people fighting the encroaching seas.
  • I also appreciate the quotes and songs of the day. They make me reflect and take me to another time. Songs are the mileposts in our lives and remind us of our memories. The quotes are the directions on how best to proceed.
  • I applaud those who can see the funny side of pretty much anything. They make the news of the day more bearable and help shine the light on the hypocrisies that our elected officials cannot seem to avoid.
  • I thank those who can make our lives better with helpful suggestions based on their experiences. These are great places of learning if we just sit down and take it all in.
  • I also greatly appreciate the voices who reveal how monied interests force decisions by our politicians that make no sense. And, how they use that money to convince people they are on your side, when after you vote for them or their candidate, you are no longer needed.
  • I respect mightily those who can see the issues from a data centric independent lens. We have so few decision makers who do this anymore and each side has its own version of truth, some of which is not true at all.
  • Finally, I am in awe of those who give of themselves to help through small or large gestures. I am in awe that in this selfish world, we have so many who are willing to offer their time, skills, passion or just a comforting presence to help those with so little or who just need a friend.

I have been blogging now since December, 2011. I have met online some wonderful people all around the globe.  I have even met a couple in person and will endeavor to meet more in the future. Keep up the wonderful work and please drop by and offer a comment or two. And, I hope you don’t mind me making comments, as I appreciate the conversation and what you say. You make my days brighter even in the rainiest of times. So, let it rain.