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Friday, January 18, 2019

HAD ENOUGH OF GRIDLOCK YET?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Actually, there is nothing new here.

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Even though the session is still young, I am already tired of the shenanigans going on between the President and the new 116th Congress. The news media takes pleasure in reminding us of the number of days the government has been partially shut down, but a more important statistic is that we are now 15 days into our political gridlock (as of today). While the Congress is stalled, the President moves on with new appointees, such as William Barr for Attorney General, sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo around the world to secure peace, and negotiating trade deals behind the scenes with other countries.

Because of the stalemate over financing the Wall and reopening government, the news has become rather boring and uninteresting, leaving the press to report on nothing more than the President having the "audacity" of serving the Clemson football champions fast food during their White House visit (which was a hit with the players).

While the Congress is in neutral, the President is still concerned with securing our borders. As I've mentioned in the past, the parallel between President Trump and Theodore Roosevelt is uncanny. Teddy had a similar problem with Congress; his "Wall" was the Panama Canal which the Congress was hesitant to pay for. TR made the observation, "I took the Canal Zone and let Congress debate; and while the debate goes on, the canal does also."

It appears President Trump is doing likewise with the southern Wall.

People today believe the polarization we are experiencing in the nation's capitol is unique to our times. Hardly. The impassioned speeches of the early 1800's pertaining to the Missouri Compromise and Kansas-Nebraska Act were even more divisive than today, all of which was a prelude to our Civil War. Let us also not forget the heated House debate of 1798, whereby Congressmen Matthew Lyon and Roger Griswold were physically fighting on the House floor.

So, none of this is new and has caused humorists over the years to observe the following...

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
- Mark Twain

"It could probably be shown by facts and figures that there is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress."
- Mark Twain

"...I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature, Congressman."
- Mark Twain

"Congress is so strange; a man gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees."
- Will Rogers

"Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us all pray: Oh Lord, give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon us. Be merciful with them, oh Lord, for they know not what they're doing. Amen."
- Will Rogers

"We all joke about Congress but we can't improve on them. Have you noticed that no matter who we elect, he is just as bad as the one he replaces?"
- Will Rogers

"A president just can't make much showing against congress. They lay awake nights, thinking up things to be against the president on."
- Will Rogers

So you see, nothing has really changed over the years. Americans are the only people who would rather have their Congress tied up, than moving forward, primarily because there is no national consensus as to what path we should take. I always thought it was to be the shining "city on a hill," a beacon of liberty, and world leader for freedom, but I don't believe everyone feels the same way.

BTW: The only noteworthy news event in the offing is the President's upcoming State of the Union address to Congress scheduled for Tuesday, January 29th. Of course, this is regularly performed by the President as per the Constitution. Fearing the President will take advantage of the venue, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked Mr. Trump to delay his address or submit it to Congress in writing. Fat chance. Unless the two parties can come to terms before then, which is highly unlikely, the President will use the address to discuss illegal immigration, much to the chagrin of the Democrats. Frankly, they should sell tickets to this one and put it on Pay Per View as it will probably attract the largest television audience of all time.

Who knows, maybe the President and the Speaker will reenact the Lyon-Griswold bout of 1798.

Enjoy your gridlock. If you think we're on edge now, let's see how we are 715 days from now as the 116th Congress expires.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube. Click for TIM'S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

WHAT YOUNG PEOPLE WANT & NEED

BRYCE ON LIFE

- What parents do not give too much of these days.

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Not long ago, there was a ten part series on PBS entitled, "Carrier," which provided a rare glimpse into life aboard an American aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz. There are approximately 5,000 people aboard this floating four acres of military weaponry, and although the ship and technology were interesting, it is the ship's crew who were the real stars of the show.

Crewmen, both male and female, from all levels of the ship's military hierarchy were profiled. Many were interviewed as to what their background was and why they joined the Navy. To me personally, I found the interviews with the younger members of the crew (ages 18-22) to be particularly enlightening. Many came from middle class broken homes where the other members of the family were socially dysfunctional, suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction, and consequently becoming pimps, prostitutes, thieves, and wife/child beaters.

Time and again, crewmen spoke of how the Navy gave them structure and a purpose in life. They found such things as discipline, organization, and accountability, to be some very powerful and beneficial concepts. They also thrived in an environment of teamwork where it was necessary to put aside differences and work towards the common good. As a result, they felt less like aloof individuals and more like a real family with a sense of belonging. They would frequently use the expression, "Work hard - play hard," representing their philosophy towards teamwork. With this foundation in place, the crewmen found confidence in themselves, assumed responsibility for their actions, and confidently responded to challenges. Instead of drifting through life aimlessly, the Navy gave them the ability to chart a course in their personal lives, something their parents failed to instill in them. In other words, the military forced them to grow up by teaching them the meaning of adulthood.

Some time ago I discussed the need in business for "Parenting Management," that due to a decline in parenting skills at home, teachers, coaches, and managers were being forced to play surrogate mothers and fathers. We may not like it, but unfortunately it has become a fact of life as many misfit parents have abdicated their responsibilities. Not surprising, I found "Carrier" to be an endorsement of my thesis that we have to do much more in the business world to help young people grow up and take their proper place in society. Since their biological parents have dropped the ball, it now defaults to the manager.

In a nutshell, the lessons from "Carrier" are simple; with rare exception, young people both want and need direction, organization, discipline, and accountability. Although they would never admit such going into the Navy, these simple parental skills are what the young crewmen actually respond positively to. By being treated as responsible professionals, they developed self-esteem, which led to pride in workmanship and a very tight ship.

In the final chapter of the show, the producers interviewed a young crewman who told a story of going back and visiting his recruiter following Boot Camp. "What did you get me into?" he asked the recruiter who, in turn, raised his hand and said "Where would you be right now if you weren't in the Navy?" The crewman blurted out he would be hanging out with his friends getting high ("Did I just say that?" he said). He glanced back into the eyes of the recruiter who simply said, "You see?" And, of course, the crewman did.

Maybe there is something to the concept of having all young people serve in the military for a few years following high school.

First published: May 15, 2008. Updated 2019.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube. Click for TIM'S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

UNCOMMON SENSE IN BUSINESS

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

- Common sense is no longer common in the work place.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Probably the main reason why Scott Adams' "Dilbert" comic strip enjoys the popularity it does is because it is a clever parody of the corporate world. It now appears in hundreds of newspapers around the world. As readers, we can relate to the corporate situations the characters are put in and the inevitable results. What is considered logical and practical is often sacrificed to suit petty personality traits. The underlying theme in the strip is that common sense is not common in the corporate world.

I have assembled a list of items as found in business and compare and contrast how they should be applied in practice (common sense) versus how they are applied in reality. This provides some interesting insight into the philosophy of our corporate culture. Who knows, this might be nothing more than fodder for Scott Adams.

APPEARANCE

Common Sense: Impressions make a difference as people react to our appearances. How we dress and act send subliminal messages to the people we meet and work with, but we must be wary of facade; an actor rarely assumes the characteristics of the people they portray. The same is true in business; looks will carry you for a while but you have to be able to produce results in order to achieve the confidence and respect you desire.

Reality: Appearances and conduct are no longer considered important. A lot of managers are grateful simply because employees show up for work on time. Slovenly looks are often not disciplined accordingly. Our appearances also influence behavior; if we look bad, we typically lack respect for ourselves and others and treat them accordingly; looking better promotes pride and self-respect.

BEHAVIOR

Common Sense: Our perceptions, right or wrong, dictate our actions. Whether we perceive a situation correctly or not is irrelevant; we will act according to how we see a situation. Knowing this, we should make every effort to correctly interpret a situation so we make the right decision and take the appropriate action.

Reality: We see only what we want to see. Little effort is made to clarify a situation and act on impulses.

BRAIN POWER

Common Sense: The brain should be fully engaged in order to strive to achieve.

Reality: Companies establish working environments that do not stimulate thought. They prefer to have human robots as opposed to encouraging people to exhibit a little initiative.

BUSINESS

Common Sense: The only good business relationship is where both parties benefit. The intent should be to create "win-win" situations where both parties prosper, not just one. This promotes cooperation and trust.

Reality: Its a dog-eat-dog world out there. Most companies have little regard for vendors and customers, let alone partners. "Win-lose" situations are still the norm today.

COMMUNICATIONS

Common Sense: Talk and write to communicate, not to impress. An eloquent vocabulary tends to alienate as oppose to recruiting support for your argument. As such, it is important to know your audience.

Reality: Pompous speeches using a seemingly cryptic language does, in fact, impress people. Your audience may not understand what you are talking about, but they will be buffaloed into believing you. Don't have any new ideas? Just change the vocabulary and make people believe you have invented a new idea.

CORPORATE CULTURE

Common Sense: All companies have a culture, a way by which their people think and behave. In order for new employees to succeed, they must adapt to the culture or face rejection (e.g., people refusing to work with them).

Reality: New people care little for the thinking and behavior of others. They believe they know better and act like loose cannons.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Common Sense: The customer is treated like a king. By providing excellent service, the customer will offer referrals (new business) as well as repeat business.

Reality: The customer is treated like sheep. By creating bureaucracy, consumers have learned not to expect too much and realize objections are exercises in futility. By vendors creating an aura that their products are "state of the art," people will react like Pavlov's dog and purchase the latest gizmo upon its announcement (usually sight unseen).

DECISION MAKING

Common Sense: Business decisions should be based on sound logical facts, such as a Cost/Benefit Analysis with "return on investments" and "break even points." People are typically not afraid of taking a risk if the facts are presented to them clearly.

Reality: Business decisions are based on emotions with an appeal to the frailties of the human ego, e.g., greed, stature, perks, etc. Politicians and marketers have known this for years, which is why Government initiates actions based on polls as opposed to what is really needed. People are not afraid of taking risks since they know liberal government bankruptcy laws will bail them out in case of failure.

DOCUMENTATION

Common Sense: If something is important, write it down. By doing so, we are providing the means for companies to carry on in the event of a catastrophe or a turnover in personnel.

Reality: Rarely is anything written down, particularly designs as it is considered a waste of time. Without documentation, people such as engineers promote job security; e.g., they cannot be fired since they maintain the designs in their heads.

INFORMATION

Common Sense: Information is not synonymous with data. Information is the knowledge or intelligence required to support the actions and decisions of a business. People act on information, not data. Data is the raw material used to produce information. Consequently, data should be cataloged so that it may be shared and reused to produce the necessary information.

Reality: Information and data are treated as being synonymous. Rarely is data shared and reused outside of a single computer program. As a result, data redundancy runs rampant in business causing end-users to question the integrity of information from which it is based.

INTEGRITY

Common Sense: Tell the truth; if you don't you'll eventually get caught in a lie which could potentially cost the company business.

Reality: Lying is considered an acceptable form of behavior. In other words, say or promise anything to secure a contract. Let the corporate lawyers figure out later what to do if entanglements ensue.

LEADERSHIP
Common Sense: Lead by example. Never ask someone to do something you are not prepared to do yourself. This will earn you the respect of your workers.

Reality: Most managers have little sensitivity for the type of work their people have to perform. In fact, they prefer a master/slave relationship thereby elevating their ego.

MANAGEMENT

Common Sense: Create an environment that empowers employees and treat them like professionals, thereby giving them a sense of purpose. An empowered employee will be more dedicated and loyal to the company.

Reality: Promise recruits anything, sweat them, then let them go at the end of the assignment. Let us also not forget, employees will jump from job to job. Free-agency saw to that.

ORGANIZATION

Common Sense: Insist on a clean work environment thereby forcing employees to be more disciplined and organized. By doing so, it will be easier to find and manage things, such as products, parts, and paperwork.

Reality: "A cluttered desk is the sign of a brilliant mind" is the normal cop out. By maintaining a pigsty, it is harder for managers to find out what the employee is up to.

PLANNING

Common Sense: Plan and set goals, but recognize that change is constant. As such, it is necessary to be flexible to adjust and adapt to changing conditions.

Reality: Plans are often cast in concrete thereby making it impossible to accommodate change. If a change is requested, blame the developers of the plan. Oh yea, don't forget to print plans on fancy paper so it might impress others.

PROBLEM SOLVING

Common Sense: Treat problems, not symptoms. To get to the root of a problem, work backwards until you come to the starting point. Still can't find it? Work forward, from start to end. Better yet, have a second pair of eyes look it over.

Reality: Treat symptoms, not problems. Apply Band-Aids where tourniquets are really needed (thereby pacifying the situation for the moment). Companies tend to develop a punchlist of symptoms and than take a shotgun approach to diagnosing them. Further, corrections are rarely delivered for free but, instead, are issued as updates (for a price).

QUALITY

Common Sense: Build quality into the product during development. By breaking the development process into stages, the product can be reviewed and inspected in increments. By doing so, it is rather easy to backup and correct the problem upon discovery. A quality-built product requires less time to maintain and, as such, reduces maintenance costs.

Reality: Companies inspect products after they have been built, normally by people unfamiliar with the processes and tools used to create the product. The rationale here is that it is seemingly cheaper to discard a product afterwards as opposed to during the development process. The cost of quality is normally bundled into the price of the product, thereby customers assume the price for corrections, not the company.

SHARING

Common Sense: Share and reuse parts of products. By doing so, it reduces development costs and promotes integration between products. Further, it simplifies maintenance of products through the use of standardized parts.

Reality: Sharing and reuse is avoided (primarily due to the "Not Invented Here" phenomenon). Consequently, considerable redundancy ensues, both in terms of parts and the labor required to redesign each part. The resulting overhead is buried in the price of the product.

SOLUTIONS

Common Sense: The best solutions are the simple solutions. Complicated solutions add to the expense of a project or a product (as well as the time to develop them). Do what is practical, not necessarily what is elegant.

Reality: Companies tend to prefer complicated solutions since they tend to pacify inflated egos or as part of a shell game in marketing the product. Complicated solutions inevitably add costs to the product (as well as markups).

TEAMWORK

Common Sense: A team of players can outperform any individual effort. As such, companies should be promoting teamwork and a spirit of cooperation.

Reality: Companies offer rewards for individual initiative (not teamwork), thereby resulting in a spirit of competition as opposed to cooperation. The thinking here is along the lines of "natural selection" as contained in Darwin's theory of evolution whereby the individual with the strongest characteristics climbs to the top of the heap.

TECHNOLOGY

Common Sense: Technology should be applied in business on a basis of cost effectiveness. An elegant solution to the wrong problem solves nothing.

Reality: Technology is purchased by companies to "Keep up with the Jones" or as a status symbol. Rarely is it ever purchased for practical business purposes. Companies have been so conditioned to purchase technology, it is like taking their morning vitamin pill; a habit they believe is good for them. This train of thought is so pervasive today that technology often supersedes management. In other words, we do not try to manage our way out of a problem, we throw technology at it instead (this way, when something goes wrong, we can blame the technology).

THEFT

Common Sense: Do your own work. Give credit where credit is due.

Reality: Piracy is an acceptable form of behavior. It is quite common for employees to take intellectual property from one company to another as they move from job to job. Let the lawyers fight it out if a problem ensues.

WORK

Common Sense: Stay focused on the work product (the result or deliverable) and doggedly see something through to completion with your best effort, thereby creating pride in workmanship. Further, accept constructive criticism so that we can learn and improve. Our goal, as employees, is to become craftsmen in our area of expertise.

Let us also not forget that everything begins with a sale. Without a sale, there is no customer service, no development, nada.

Reality: People will only work on those items they deem important, in no particular priority. Further, people like to "rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic" and, by doing so, try to make things look better on the surface than they really are. This is usually done by juggling the books. Companies avoid tackling major projects for two reasons; first, they no longer possess the management skills to accomplish the work, and second; rewards and systems of remuneration are based on a short-term mentality.

THE HUMAN SPIRIT
Common Sense: Since the inception of our company in 1971, the underlying theme in our methodologies and writings is the recognition of the vital role the human being plays in business. You have heard us say on numerous occasions:

* Everything begins and ends with the human being.
* Systems are for people
* Business is about people, not numbers.
* Information is for people, not for the computer.
* We accomplish projects through people.
* Our corporate slogan: "Software for the finest computer - the Mind"

Knowing this, there should be greater respect for the human spirit and, as such, we should be sharpening our people skills as opposed to our technical skills. Technology will always have a role to play, but humans should never become subservient to it.

Reality: The human element is too often overlooked or forgotten. Technology is having an adverse effect on our social skills. For example, we can now electronically contact just about anyone anywhere on the planet, but we do not know how to effectively communicate or work with others. Some people believe the ideal business is one run totally by machines and not by people, thereby affording us more leisure time, a sort of "business in a closet." But as long as we have people as customers, people as vendors, and need people to execute projects, we should always respect the dignity of the human spirit.

CONCLUSION

Some would suggest the Common Sense items listed above are naive concepts; that business doesn't work this way. They are probably right, but then again, this is what makes "Dilbert" so funny. We all look for Common Sense in the work place, but are no longer surprised when things go awry. Consequently, these Common Sense items are considered "Uncommon" in today's world.

I'll close with one final Common Sense maxim admonished by my grandmother years ago which I have always found to be true, "In every person's life, you must eat at least one spoonful of dirt."

First published: September 18, 2006. Updated 2019.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube. Click for TIM'S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

PUSH BUTTON GRIEVANCES

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Our Pavlovian response to irritants.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I find it interesting how people tend to have knee-jerk reactions to certain things. It's kind of like a Pavlovian response we turn to in certain situations, particularly as we get older. For example, years ago when I visited my grandparents in Buffalo, New York, my grandfather would automatically go into a tirade if he heard on the radio about crime rising in the area or taxes rising, a common conundrum in New York state. This would automatically trigger a response from my grandfather who would say, "And you know who pays for that don't you? Your grandmother and me!"

If I heard this expression once, I must have heard it a thousand times over the years as it left an indelible impression on me. So much so, when I hear something similar on the radio while I'm driving around town, I find myself saying, "And you know who pays for that don't you?", and I start to laugh.

I think we all have certain hot buttons which trigger some sort of an outcry, mostly things that irritate us one way or another. For example, I know a couple in my neighborhood who is quick to point out the horrible color their next door neighbor painted his house with, a ghastly dark blue. "Do you believe how horrible that looks?" I have been asked several times over the last three years since it was painted. Every time I act as if the question is new to me.

My mother has made a house in the neighborhood a pet peeve of hers. Whereas it was a handsome and well maintained house in the past, the new owners have turned it into a perpetual project whereby something is always being modified or remodeled, be it inside or out. Interestingly, they never seem to get it right, causing the house to lose its charm. Consequently, whenever we pass the house today, my mom is likely to say, "What in God's name are they thinking of?"

There are, of course, many other push button expressions to convey our displeasure. For example, when my wife was in high school, her mother would say to her or her sisters, "You're not going out dressed like that are you?" or "You didn't pay money for that did you?" Women may say something catty about another woman they don't like; e.g., "Ugh! I hate her." Guys are a little more colorful, referring to someone as "What an idiot" or something much stronger.

Mothers are notorious for pushbutton expressions, such as, "You can plant potatoes in those ears" or "Eat your vegetables or you'll wear them" or "You can put your eye out that way." Another favorite is, "Stop it or you'll go blind."

We also see this phenomenon in the area of politics. For example, when liberals hear a reference to President Trump, they instantly respond that he is a racist, a fascist, or is xenophobic. Again, this is a Pavlovian conditioned response requiring no thinking. Ask them what he said or did to trigger their reaction and they won't remember, but they are sure he is a a racist, a fascist, or is xenophobic, even if they do not understand what the labels mean.

I have heard these expressions so often, perhaps we should consider numbering them, thereby saving us time and effort. In a way, it reminds me of the old story where a man is sent to prison. As the newbie, he asks his cellmate if he knows any jokes to pass the time. The cellmate says, "Here in prison, we've heard all of the jokes a million times. So, instead of repeating them, we've numbered them to save time. Here watch this..."

The cellmate yells "97" from his cell which results in gales of laughter from the other prisoners.

"Wow, that's pretty impressive," the newbie says, "Can I try one?"

"Sure, be my guest."

"82," he yells out from his cell. Unfortunately, nobody responds, not even a chuckle.

"Try another," the cellmate encourages.

"51," he yells. Again, no response.

Frustrated the newbie tries multiple numbers, "162", "25", and "13." Again, dead silence.
To which the cellmate observes, "Well I guess it goes to prove, some people can tell a joke, but others cannot."
 

I'm not sure we should number our grievances this way, as I believe we take comfort in airing our displeasure to others, thereby building consensus of opinion. Besides, someone will inevitably find a way to make money off such a numbering convention, "And you know who pays for that don't you?"

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube. Click for TIM'S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

NO SURPRISE HERE: DEMOCRATS ARE LIBERAL

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- At least, according to Gallup.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The Gallup organization has just published an on-going study on trends in political ideology, titled, "U.S. Still Leans Conservative, but Liberals Keep Recent Gains" (Jan 8th). Not surprising, conservatives continue to outnumber liberals by 35% to 26%. Nor is it a surprise that 76% of Republicans consider themselves conservative.

The startling news here is, for the first time ever, the majority of Democrats now consider themselves liberal as opposed to moderate or conservative. Whereas I have always thought of Democrats as being liberal, I have had many Democrats over the years push back claiming this is simply not so. Now, according to Gallup, there is evidence confirming this suspicion. Whereas is was 50% in 2017, it went up a single tick (51%) in 2018, to push them over the top to clinch the majority.

According to the study, here is how DEMOCRATS viewed themselves:

51% - Liberal
34% - Moderate
13% - Conservative

And here is how REPUBLICANS viewed themselves:

76% - Conservative
22% - Moderate
04% - Liberal

Last, but certainly not least, here is how INDEPENDENTS saw themselves:

45% - Moderate
28% - Conservative
22% - Liberal

Not surprising, it is the Moderate Independents that both parties are wooing as we approach 2020. Conservatives and liberals have their own unique perspective, but is is the moderates the news media is after in terms of shaping their opinion.

Interestingly, the study reveals there are two groups perfectly balanced between being conservative and liberal: Women and Latinos. These groups are also up for grabs.

In a related study, "Record Numbers of Americans Want to Leave the U.S.," Gallup reveals 16% of the populace want to move out of the country, preferably to Canada. According to the study, the pristine candidate desiring to leave the country are women between the ages of 15-29, and representing the most poor.

I hope they know how to read a map. BTW, Canada is just north of the United States.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube. Click for TIM'S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

THE 116TH CONGRESS IS OFF AND RUNNING...BUT WHERE TO?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- Do not expect too much as we will be embroiled in gridlock.

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To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The 116th U.S. Congress was sworn in on January 3rd. As expected, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (CA) was elected Speaker of the House, who has the unenviable job of binding up a divided chamber of Congress, as well her own party, the Democrats. This will be Mrs. Pelosi's last hurrah and will likely mark her legacy in the history books. Whereas the House is in the hands of the Democrats, the Senate remains under Republican control. Translation, nothing of substance will happen for the next two years as the two chambers will be hopelessly gridlocked. In terms of House Democrats, the Speaker will likely have trouble controlling the far left who fought her election as Speaker.

Beginning from Day One, the Democrats have drawn a line in the sand to confront Republicans and President Trump. The subject of impeaching the President raised its ugly head again and as I predicted the desire to do so will prove to be irresistible to Democrats. Frankly, the charges are frivolous, and veteran House Democrats know even if it is passed in their chamber, the president will be exonerated in the Republican controlled Senate. So, why go through this futile exercise? To simply besmirch the character of the president as a prelude to the 2020 presidential election. The only problem is, they will likely raise the ire of the American people who elected Mr. Trump, and this is what concerns the party's leadership. It is more about character assassination as opposed to introducing legislation to solve our problems.

Freshmen Democrats are already rattling sabers. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI) unapologetically called the president a Mother******. This was followed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accusing the president of being a "no question" racist in a 60 Minutes interview. Neither taunts will play well in Poughkeepsie.

More trouble is in the offing though. Rep. Steve Cohen (TN) introduced legislation to eliminate the Electoral College in presidential elections, relying on the popular vote instead. Devised by our founding fathers, the Electoral College is simply brilliant in terms of maintaining parity between the interests of rural America and large metropolitan areas. Unfortunately, it is not well understood in the country anymore, particularly since Civic classes are no longer being taught in high schools. Should this legislation pass the House, it will not see the light of day in the Senate, as it would mean people in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, will dictate who becomes president, with little regard for main stream America. This is precisely the scenario our founding fathers hoped to avoid.

Rep. Cohen also introduced legislation to prohibit presidents from issuing pardons to themselves, their families, their administration or their campaign staff. This is a major change as the presidents have long possessed the right to pardon. What they want to avoid is a situation, such as in the final days of President Bill Clinton's administration where he pardoned his Whitewater cronies, such as Susan McDougal. This too will likely not pass the Senate.

Also, legislation has been introduced mandating the publishing of tax returns of presidential candidates and executives in office. As I have reported in the past, this has always been an optional report for candidates to produce. It is likely the main stream media is driving this initiative. Personally, I believe your finances are your own personal affair. If you want to disclose it, fine, if not, that is fine also. Frankly, if the Democrats believe strongly in this, this should be made equally applicable to ALL government officials, including Congress and the Supreme Court, along with state, county, and municipal governments. What is good for the goose, should be good for the gander. This legislation will likely not pass as well.

Last, but certainly not least, the House and the president are at a stalemate regarding reopening the government and funding a wall for the southern border. The irresistible force has met the immovable object, and no amount of negotiations is going to change anything as it will be viewed as a sign of weakness by both sides. The one exception might be if President Trump does as he suggests and declares a national emergency which would allow him to appropriate funds for the wall. This will likely happen as the president has been releasing data and testimonies of the problems at our southern border in recent weeks. Should the president declare an emergency, it offers Democrats a way out of the confrontation without losing face, and the government can start back up again.

All of this highlights the gridlock in the nation's capitol which we better get used to. The intent of the Democrats is to make the president look bad as we approach 2020. In addition to the legislation listed here, we will likely see a flurry of subpoenas designed to tie up the president and his administration, thereby obstructing his agenda. Because of the gridlock, we will not see anything of substance resulting from the 116th Congress, certainly not health care reform (which the Democrats campaigned on).

The only possibility might be in the area of addressing the nation's decaying infrastructure but I am not optimistic about passage of such legislation as we are now embroiled in a game of one-upmanship, and neither side want to give the other a win.

Rep. Pelosi's legacy will likely be defined by the gridlock of the Congress and the Democrat's inability to bring this president to heel. If their shenanigan's persist, they will run the risk of angering the American people, and assuring the Republicans regain the House, not to mention securing President Trump a second term. It will also likely fracture the Democrats, leaving us wondering who will become leader of their party in the House following Mrs. Pelosi's tour of duty. People like Rep. Steny Hoyer (MD), Rep. Ray Lujan (NM), and Rep. James Clyburn (SC) will likely be viewed as clones of Mrs. Pelosi and may very well be rebuffed by younger Democrats who will want to chart a new course to the left.

The only thing we know for sure about the next two years is that it certainly will not be boring and the news media will support whoever emerges as an effective leader of the party.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube. Click for TIM'S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.

Friday, January 4, 2019

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION: DO WE REALLY HAVE A PROBLEM?

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- What the data tells us.

Click for AUDIO VERSION.
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Earlier this week (Jan 2nd), Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was asked to give a border security briefing in the Situation Room of the White House to ranking Congressional leaders, both the House and the Senate. Just six seconds into her presentation, Sec. Nielsen was interrupted by Democrats who wanted no part of it. Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) was quoted as saying the presentation was "preposterous," and "At a time when we have the lowest level of apprehensions at the border -- stopping people from coming in illegally -- the lowest level historically, she is saying that we have all these terrorists and criminals and all these people on their way in."

In other words, the Secretary's report was quickly dismissed as irrelevant and both parties took to the microphones to defend their positions. Whereas Sec. Nielsen reported an influx in arrests of illegal immigrants with criminal records during 2018, the Democrats responded this simply wasn't so. The question is, what is the truth?

The meeting was closely followed by the news media, but interestingly, there was no mention of the DHS report accompanying Sec. Nielsen's briefing. In short, it was buried by the press. Fortunately, I had little difficulty locating it on the DHS web site where it was titled, "Fiscal Year 2018 ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report" by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The purpose of the 22 page report was to summarize U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) activities in Fiscal Year 2018.

Among the statistics listed were a couple of eye-openers:

* There were 158,581 administrative arrests in FY2018, ICE and ERO recorded the greatest number of administrative arrests as compared to the two previous fiscal years, and the highest number since FY2014. ICE and ERO made 15,111 more administrative arrests in FY2018 than in FY2017, representing an 11 percent increase, and a continued upward trend after FY2017's 30 percent increase over FY2016.

* In FY2018, ERO arrested 138,117 aliens with criminal histories (convicted criminals and those pending criminal charges) for an increase of 10,125 aliens over FY2017. This continued the growth seen in FY2017 when ERO arrested 26,974 more aliens with criminal histories than in FY2016 for a 27 percent gain.

The types of crimes cover the spectrum; everything from DUI traffic offenses, to drugs, assault, larceny, burglary, weapon offenses, homicide, kidnapping, etc. (See diagram for specifics).

And finally, FY2018 saw an increase in criminal violations causing an increase in removal of illegal immigrants. Interestingly, the Top 10 countries include:

TOP 10 COUNTRIES - REMOVALS BY COUNTRY OF CITIZENSHIP

FY2017FY2018
MEXICO128,765141,045
GUATEMALA33,57050,390
HONDURAS22,38128,894
EL SALVADOR18,83815,445
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC1,9861,769
BRAZIL1,4131,691
ECUADOR1,1521,264
COLOMBIA1,0821,162
HAITI5,578934
NICARAGUA832879

It's interesting that America provides substantial foreign aid to these countries, including:

FY2017
MEXICO$290M
GUATEMALA$257M
HONDURAS$181M
EL SALVADOR$118M
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC$ 61M
BRAZIL$ 28M
ECUADOR$ 18M
COLOMBIA$518M
HAITI$307M
NICARAGUA$ 44M
Source: USAID

One should ask what is the point of giving these countries money, if their citizens want to leave them. They are obviously squandering the money and not improving working conditions there. In other words, it is wasteful. Also consider this, the foreign aid to these Top 10 countries alone represents over $1.8B, not to mention the many other countries on the list. The United States probably could build an opulent southern wall by simply diverting foreign aid.

So, what was the message Sec. Nielsen was trying to communicate? That a legitimate problem exists in illegal immigration, and it is growing. The data presented in the report is not fictitious or a figment of someone's imagination. It is real. The fact remains, there is an increase, not a decrease in people wanting to enter our country illegally, with many possessing a criminal background. Now we have to ask if we want these undesirables to run amok in our country. Our safety, security, and sovereignty depends on your answer.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb1557@gmail.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WZIG-FM (104.1) in Palm Harbor,FL; Or tune-in to Tim's channel on YouTube. Click for TIM'S LIBRARY OF AUDIO CLIPS.