At Risk Lives Matter…

SKPWhen Mr. Giuliani said “When you say black lives matter, that’s inherently racist,” he is really being an idiot. There are far too many videos capturing cases where black lives are being ended without a clear need. It sickens me to my core that my fellow americans are being treated this way. The deaths of police officers is also sickening, and simply immoral. And in both cases it is a small group of bad apples screwing up the lives of so many people.

The majority of police officers are doing a very difficult job justly and well, and they are a vital part of their communities. Likewise the majority of protesters are trying to bring attention and action to a critical systemic issue peacefully; playing another vital role in the community.

The horrific attack on police officers in Dallas does so much damage. But using it as a potential excuse does all the lost lives a disservice. We must do the hard work to remove racism in policing. And at the same time we must keep our officers safe. Of course it is true #alllives matter but in our society today it is critical to emphasize that #blacklivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter because sadly those lives are most at risk. Recognizing that some lives are more at risk is not racism it is simply not burying your head in the sand.

Somehow all of us need to realize #blackandbluelivesmatter and to work toward the communication, transparency and respect to fight this continuing string to tragedies.

Sometimes Winning is Not Enough

PM-KnorWe’re already getting to the point where Brexit is old news, except for the part where no one knows what’s really going to happen…

In reality there is no way to predict if the vote was the right or wrong thing for the UK. To be honest it’s just the starting point. The outcome depends far too much on really hard work simply not yet done. And after that work is done it actually might not have mattered which way the vote went. So when Mr Trump praised Boris Johnson for having “got it right” on Brexit he was well, … let’s call it “confused”.

Its an all too common confusion, simply mistaking winning for “getting it right”. In a democracy this confusion is really important to understand. It is simply a tool that pundits use to validate their narrative, sadly showing complete disregard far what is actually best. The real damage is the overconfidence in a simple election result which stops critical thinking and working toward better solutions. Especially in a case like this where the “right” answer really is a path yet to be worked out.

We all want to have our point of view prevail. But no matter how happy or sad we are after an election it is vital to always look for the better path forward after those results come in. Because while there is often not a simple right or wrong answer there is always a way to make things better. But making things better requires cutting through the BS….

A Madman has spoken…

Free Resources

PM-KnorIt is hard to imagine if bricks of gold were walking across our borders that we’d complain about the need to build vaults to keep the gold safe. We’d simply know it was worth the investment. But people are a resource that pays off better than gold. We somehow lose sight of this in fear or pessimism. But if we invest in people we are always better off. To me that is the real message behind the lines on the Statue of Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

– The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus\

It is a wonderful reminder that as Americans we thrive on the potential every person brings to our country. While we have to be reasonable about keeling those out that truly mean to harm people. We do ourselves the biggest harm when we search out excuses to keep people out. For me bravery, freedom and compassion are American values, not fear, scapegoating and indifference.

A Madman has spoken…

Trump’d Up Immigration Charges

I think almost everyone in the world now knows the words that Donald Trump used to describe immigration from Mexico into the United States. But the fervent responses to the provocative language he used to describe immigrants has missed a much larger issue in his thoughts.

Candidate Trump described immigration from Mexico to the United States as Mexico sending immigrants to the United States. This is simply not the way immigration works. It would actually be more accurate to say the U.S. is stealing motivated entrepreneurs from Mexico. The reason is simple; in reality, immigration happens when individuals decide they want to move. And currently the barriers to getting into the United States from Mexico mean the individuals who want to come here need to be motivated, willing to take risks and be industrious. When they get into the United States, they need to adapt and quickly figure how to make a living, often by being a self-employed contractor. Yes, these immigrants are creating jobs.

I am, of course, also choosing provocative language, but at least it cuts closer to the truth.

A Madman has spoken…

The Candid 47%

Recently, I was caught in a conversation rehashing the infamous “47 percent” comment by Gov. Mitt Romney. Something had been nagging me about the whole brouhaha.

It is a reality of the political process that candidates may “let their hair” down when talking with supporters and are likely to state things poorly. So we should have thick skins when we are given a peek into that realm.

In the case of the 47 percent comment, all Romney was stating is that there is a good portion of the electorate that is not going to vote for him so he has to focus elsewhere. And that, since there was 47 percent that doesn’t pay income taxes, that percentage wouldn’t vote for him. It’s a simple truth, right?

The problem is that the 47 percent, as already reported, has a lot of retirees and veterans and many of these are going to vote for Romney.

I believe the Romney team is bright and competent and therefore knows that the 47 percent is split among both President Barack Obama and Romney and that most of the Obama voters do pay taxes. So, the reality gnawing at me is that Romney chose to deceive his own supporters. I wonder why he chose to paint his and Obama’s supporters inaccurately?

A Madman has spoken…

Just Say No

It is tiring hearing various conservative pundits whine about how Obama policies have failed to recover the economy.  You see we don’t’ know what Obama’s policies would have done if they weren’t blocked by partisan politics. Basically the only economic policy that was passed was the stimulus package, and as that money was spent the economy went from terrible to slowly growing.  Ever since then any economic policies have been stopped by the house of representatives and republican senators. We’ve been kept in policy neutral by a “Just say No” congress.  It seems they are scared that working toward compromise might actually make things better. Basically a lot of hand wringing about keeping their jobs.

 

A Madman has spoken…

Let them eat broccoli..

I found the question from the Supreme Court, on whether our Congress could pass a law compelling citizens to eat broccoli, intriguing. It elicits an image of a nanny state and ludicrous overreach in a single question. But if “compel” or “mandate” means can the Congress make people who don’t buy broccoli pay more in taxes, then, surprisingly, it seems to me the answer is yes.

That Congress causes someone to pay more in taxes for not buying something may seem like something new, but it really isn’t. It is simply just a different way of presenting tax breaks that we have become accustomed to. We have given our Congress the power to tax our incomes. So members could pass a law adding, say, $1,000 per year to everyone. Then, at the same time, they could pass a tax rebate of $1,000 for anyone buying broccoli. This is identical to just raising the taxes by $1,000 on anyone not buying broccoli.

Of course, in this theoretical case, our Congress could “compel” us to buy broccoli but not necessarily make us eat it. Notice the above model only depended on three things: the ability to raise income taxes, the ability to do so on a flat tax basis and the ability to offer a tax rebate. Of course such a law would likely spur recall elections and the election a new Congress to change the taxes back. But who knows? Maybe our Supreme Court has now sparked some ideas.

A Madman has spoken…

Creating a better health care market

As an independent consultant I would I would really like to buy health insurance in an open market, at reasonable rates. I’d like the market to be transparent. I’d like to not have to worry about being denied or having coverage suddenly dropped because of a preexisting condition. I don’t even mind living by the necessary rationing and restriction that today’s insurers apply.

As an American, I want as many of the uninsured to participate in this market since they should pay their way as much as possible, rather than having to wait until they are admitted to emergency rooms where the costs are higher and they can’t pay. When they can’t pay then we all pay a portion of that bill. I would really like all these common sense things. But there are 41 members of the Senate that don’t want me to have these. To get fair open market for health care I want fewer Republican Senators to be elected.

 

A Madman has spoken…

The high cost of exclusion

If we are going to build marketplaces of medical insurance it is in our interest to have all potential patients participate. Basically we don’t want to exclude anyone who might use the system from buying health insurance that is offered at a profitable price.  There are of course people we don’t want to pay any part of their insurance premium. The reason is simple if we keep someone from buying health insurance they are still just as likely to need care and some of them will end up in emergency rooms costing us all in higher health costs.  So anyone we exclude from buying health insurance ironically will end up being subsidized in the worst possible way.  And we let them buy health insurance we are letting them pay their fair share.  Yes it is stupid to exclude any potential patient of the health care system, even if those potential patients are called illegal immigrants.

 

A Madman has spoken

Auto Bailout Consequences

I am a concerned citizen and technology entrepreneur writing to you as an auto industry bailout is considered. I want to share insights gained by being part of small technology companies competing against established market leaders. My experience has been in the aerospace and software markets so I have no direct interest in the automotive industry.

Any established technology has a large advantage over emerging technologies. Existing technologies have an established track record with customers, efficiencies of scale and basic market / mind share. If current auto manufacturers receive financial assistance in this tight credit market it will increase these already high barrier to new technologies.

As with any technology there are always small companies trying to evolve or revolutionize the industry. Here are three examples in the auto industry:

1. Fiberforge, a company creating thermoplastic composites that are stronger and lighter then steel. And could be used to improve fuel efficiency and even reduce manufacturing costs. Based in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

2. Aptera, a company that has built a hybrid 3 seat vehicle capable of 230 mpg, as a diesel pluggable hybrid or act as a 100% electric vehicle. Based in Carlsbad, California

3. Tesla Motors, a bay area company selling an all-electric sports car. They have also designed a sedan that would extend the practicality of an all-electric vehicle to many more buyers. Based in San Carlos, California.

If these or other companies succeed they will build an industry of parts manufacturers and support industries. More importantly if companies like this do not succeed it won’t stop innovation from happening. The next generation of vehicle technologies will occur, but it will occur elsewhere in the world.

If today’s auto companies are “bailed out” with no consideration for tomorrow’s auto technology companies we’ll put ourselves behind in the long term. That does not mean supporting the current industry is wrong. But, if we do it is in our best interest to provide substantive support to emerging companies in the market as well.

 

A Madman has spoken…