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Thursday, December 5, 2019

"I SCREWED UP"

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- "The longer you delay admitting a mistake, the more expensive it will be to correct." - Bryce's Law

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

Nobody likes to admit making a mistake. We tend to believe it makes us look bad in the eyes of our coworkers, friends and particularly the boss. It's a real test of our integrity. Some people like to cover-up mistakes so they go undetected or, even worse, let someone else take the blame for them. I find mistakes tend to fester and grow if left unchecked, thereby causing bigger headaches and costing a lot more money if we don't catch them in time.

Every once in awhile you have to look your boss straight in the eye and say, "I screwed up." It's kind of like having a priest listen to your confession. Although the boss may be disappointed, he will be appreciative of the fact you came clean with him early on and brought the problem to his attention where it can be caught and corrected with minimal damage.

In this day and age of micromanagement you don't see too many people willing to admit a mistake. They take on an assignment, get in over their head, and fail to yell for help in time. This does a disservice to the assignment, the people depending on you, and yourself. In business, it is not uncommon to see people rising above their level of competency (aka, "The Peter Principle"). In other words, they have been placed in a position where they are incapable of performing their job effectively. Keeping them in this position is a disservice to the company as well as to the person. Frankly, I think we have too many people in over their heads who refuse to ask for help, which I consider a pretty scary operating scenario.

We have all made mistakes we wish we could take back and correct, some small, others real beauts, but there is nobody out there without a blemish on their record, which is why we are all willing to forgive, provided the person comes clean with it early on.

There's an old axiom in business that says, "If you make 51% of your decisions correctly, you will be a success." I'm not suggesting we don't strive for perfection, but we should all realize it is an impossibility. After all, the last guy who was perfect, they hung on a cross.

Originally published: July 15, 2008

Keep the Faith!

P.S. - Also do not forget my new books, "How to Run a Nonprofit" and "Tim's Senior Moments", both available in Printed and eBook form. Great holiday gifts!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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, December 3, 2019

THE USE OF TIME

BRYCE ON LIFE

- As opposed to what we produce.

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

I'm seeing a strange perspective emerging in business as it applies to productivity. Instead of considering the amount of output produced, people now seem only concerned with the amount of time served at work. I see this in I.T. organizations where programmers have said to me, "Wow, I spent twelve hours at work today." I heard this same exact expression from a guy who was laying sod on my lawn. I answered them both the same way, "That's nice, but what did you produce in that time?" Interestingly, they both were at a loss for words and vague in terms of what they produced. It appeared to me, they thought they were being productive simply by the number of hours attending work.

I contend it is not the hours in the day that is important, but rather what we produce. In a way, counting hours reminds me of how the military viewed performance during the Viet Nam War, whereby they counted bodies as opposed to geography won. Let us also not forget, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is measured by output, not hours worked.

Years ago in business, employees were taught to do what was necessary to get a job done. If it meant working evenings and weekends, so be it, and you didn't complain as you knew the importance of the assignment and genuinely liked your work. Even if you didn't, you possessed personal pride to see the job through to completion. Today though, there is more emphasis on personal time and vacations, so employees have become mindful of how much time they serve and how much they can relax, hence the emphasis on time.

When it comes to the nature of time, we have long promoted the concept of "Effectiveness Rate," (ER) in Project Management. Unlike "Man Hours" which falsely assumes a person is 100% productive, ER considers time in terms of the amount spent on "Direct" assignments versus "Indirect" interferences. "Direct" means real work, it is what you were hired to do. "Indirect" represents those interruptions keeping us from doing our "Direct" assignments, such as breaks, bathroom visits, meetings, telephone calls, casual reading, social media, etc. The ratio between Directs and Indirects is what we refer to as "Effectiveness Rate."

In the average office setting, the ER is typically 70%, e.g., in an eight hour business day, 5.6 hours are used for direct work, and 2.4 hours for indirect activities. Studies have shown construction workers are typically 25%. The point is, nobody can be 100% effective, there will be interferences which is a much more realistic perspective of time. Further, employees will have different rates based on their capabilities and experience. Also, please understand ER is NOT a measure of performance; it is simply an analysis of the use of time by workers. Just because one employee has a higher ER as opposed to another, simply means the person has fewer interferences. Whereas "Direct" time is the responsibility for the individual to manage, "Indirect" time is the responsibility for the manager to manage. If a manager observes an employee is experiencing too many interferences, he/she may take measures to minimize them.

To illustrate how ER is used in scheduling, let's assume we have a person who has made an estimate of 100 "direct" hours (who also averages a 70% effectiveness rate), and there are eight (8) available hours in the business day. Under this scenario, 100 Direct Hours divided by .70 (ER) equals 142.85 elapsed hours. In turn, the 142.85 would be divided by 8 (available hours per day) to equal 17.85 elapsed days. The "man hour" approach mentioned earlier does not take the environmental influences into consideration and assumes an effectiveness rate of 100%. Under this approach, the sample schedule would be completed in 12.5 business day. In other words, ER is a more realistic and reliable approach for producing schedules.

So, going back to the programmers and sod layer mentioned in the beginning, when they claimed, "Wow, I spent twelve hours at work today." I should have asked what their Effectiveness Rate was. I suspect 10%.

For more information on Effectiveness Rate, click HERE.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. - Also do not forget my new books, "How to Run a Nonprofit" and "Tim's Senior Moments", both available in Printed and eBook form. Great holiday gifts!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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, November 26, 2019

THANKSGIVING & THE LOVES OF OUR LIVES

BRYCE ON LIFE

- Celebrating the many loves in our lives.

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

Thanksgiving is a favorite of mine and I have written about it on numerous occasions (see below). It's more than just the food, it's about being around friends and family. It's the telling of a joke or story, a fond memory, and a glass of cheer. All of this reflects on the love we have for those who surround us, to wit...

THE LOVES OF OUR LIVES

Throughout our lives we touch a lot of people.

Before you are born, you are the twinkle in your father's eye.

When you are born, you warm your grandmothers' hearts.

When you are a toddler, you are the apple of your mother's eye.

When you are in grade school, you become the buddy of your grandfathers.

You form bonds with family and friends that often lasts a lifetime.

When you play well in a game, you are celebrated by your teammates.

As you enter your clumsy teenage years, you are the scourge of your parents,

But when you graduate from school, you are their pride.

As a young adult, you finally meet the love of your life.

When you marry, your mother is delighted but your father shed's a tear.

When you have children of your own, your friends and family rejoice.

When you succeed at work, you are the toast of your business associates.

As you retire, you surround yourself with old friends and reminisce.

And when you are gone, you reside in the recesses of our loved ones' memories, all of whom you have touched.

Each person touches many lives, not only receiving love but passing it on to others as well.

And when we gather around the Thanksgiving table, let us give thanks for the blessings we have and the love we share.
 
Happy Thanksgiving.

My other columns on Thanksgiving:

* Tim's 2017 Thanksgiving Grace (Huffington Post, 11/22/2017)
* How not to cook a Thanksgiving Dinner (11/23/2016)
* A Thanksgiving Moment (11/27/2013)
* What are we giving Thanks to? (11/20/2012)

Keep the Faith!

P.S. - Also do not forget my new books, "How to Run a Nonprofit" and "Tim's Senior Moments", both available in Printed and eBook form. Great holiday gifts!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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, November 21, 2019

THE GRAYING OF FLORIDA

BRYCE ON FLORIDA POLITICS

- Voters are getting older.

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

Not surprising, Florida is a preferred destination for tourists in winter and retirement. We offer plenty of warm sunshine, sports and attractions, golf and tennis, boating and fishing, fine restaurants, comfortable living, no state income tax, southern charm, and aside from the occasional tropical storm, a safe and comfortable environment. People are coming to Florida in droves, either to vacation or live. It is the #1 state where people are moving to. Not surprising, we have a construction boom here.

According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, over 221.5K people moved to Florida in 2018 alone. The top states where residents are migrating from include:

NY-63.0K (D)
VA-31.7K (D)
PA-31.7K (D)
NJ-30.1K (D)
IL-27.6K (D)
TX-24.1K (R)
OH-22.4K (R)
MI-20.8K (D)
MA-20.3K (D)
SC-15.2K (R)

These people flee their states for a variety of reasons including: inclement weather, jobs, high state taxes, political culture, etc. Some people see themselves as economic refugees escaping from states facing financial instability. In the 2018 Mercatus State Fiscal Rankings, it examined the financial stability of the fifty states, plus Puerto Rico. The report considered debt and financial obligations, as well as state pension programs and health care benefits. From the list above, the following states were ranked at the bottom of the Mercatus study, including: IL (#50), NJ (#48), MA (#47), NY (#41), and PA (#35). As an aside, tiny Connecticut was rated #49 and, even though it had smaller numbers, saw migration to Florida jump 63% in 2018. By the way, Florida is #4 on the list.

Interestingly, I came across another report from the Census Bureau indicating the lion's share of people coming to Florida are seniors. The Bureau reported the proportion of Florida's population that is 60 and older is growing more rapidly than other components of the population. They estimate 32.5 percent of Florida's population will be 60 and older by the year 2030, an increase of 34 percent from 2012.

This means nearly a third of the populace will be seniors thereby creating a voting block to be reckoned with, even beating the Millennials. They also have a better voting turnout record than the youngsters.

Of course, seniors include both Democrats and Republicans, but they generally do not like Socialism and will not vote for it. As much as I would like to believe seniors are predominantly conservative politically, there are many who have gravitated to liberal causes as they grow older. The point is, we will start to see politicians cater more to the interests of seniors, and less toward younger generations. In other words, a shift is in the offing.

One thing I have observed about seniors is that more thought goes into who or what they will vote for. They are active, experienced, inquisitive, and not afraid to debate issues in a calm manner. Seniors are much less impetuous and boisterous than Millennials.

Bottom-line, the face of Florida politics is getting grayer, and the Millennials better watch out.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. - Also do not forget my new books, "How to Run a Nonprofit" and "Tim's Senior Moments", both available in Printed and eBook form. Great holiday gifts!

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

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance 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, November 19, 2019

THE SNOWBIRDS RETURN

BRYCE ON FLORIDA

- They're baaack...

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

The snowbirds are finally back in Florida. For the uninformed, this represents the migratory habits of our elderly neighbors in the north who have developed an aversion to winters at home and head for the warmer climate of the Sunshine State for five or six months. Our restaurants thereby become overcrowded and our roads are clogged with motorists with a wide variety of driving habits, resulting in stop-and-go traffic to drive us crazy. Make no mistake though, we welcome our northern neighbors back as they represent +90 million tourists who visit us (yes, it is that much) and pump over $60 billion into our economy.

When the Snowbirds arrive, native Floridians typically drive to work a little earlier, and expect to eat at a restaurant a little later than normal, all to give the tourists ample time to enjoy themselves. The only problem we have with them is their varying driving habits. How someone from Michigan drives is considerably different than someone from New York, which is different than someone from Maine, Ohio, and just about anywhere else. It's very exasperating to drive under such conditions which tests our patience.

The trademark of the Snowbird is, of course, the Recreational Vehicle (RV) which comes in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and costs. Whatever the size, they somehow manage to clog the roads and Walmart parking lots. I'm always amazed by owners of opulent RV's who do not bring another form of transportation, such as a bicycle, motor scooter, or automobile. They have to do a lot of walking otherwise. Close to our office is a trailer court where I've seen a Snowbird with a state-of-the-art bus-length RV which includes a tow hitch to pull an equally impressive trailer. Inside the trailer are two beautiful motorcycles and a complete shop to maintain them. Although I consider it a rather smart setup, I would be concerned with driving such "Hogs" down here which can be a rather dangerous proposition.

Over the years I have learned there are RV groups who enjoy traveling in "caravans" throughout North America, and Florida gets more than their fair share this time of year. A caravan is nothing more than a group of friends who travel together as a support group on outings. The first RV in line is considered the "Wagon Master" to lead the group. Somehow the image of Gil Favor leading a cattle drive in "Rawhide" comes to mind. The last RV in line is called the "Tail Gunner" which is reminiscent of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Such caravans represent considerable money to trailer park owners and, as such, they are warmly received.

Although you can easily detect snowbirds by their vernacular, you can just as easily spot them by their attitude which borders on pompous arrogance. Coming from the north, they somehow believe southerners are rubes who know nothing, that only northerners know how things should be done. As a displaced northerner myself who settled here many years ago, I am acutely aware of the cultural divide. I have learned Southerners know plenty, they just express themselves differently than their northern counterparts. They may seem rather cold initially, but if you are kind and open to suggestion, they make you feel right at home. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the food of the south who enjoy such things as grits, different interpretations of barbecue, and such oddities as crawdads and deep fried turkey. Northerners simply do not understand southern cuisine. Then again, it took them about 100 years to learn to appreciate southern fried chicken.

Quite often you will hear snowbirds lament, "That's not how we do it back home." Maybe not, but you are not in the north anymore and you have to learn to acclimate to the local culture. This begins by losing the stuffy northern attitude, relaxing, and learning to enjoy southern hospitality. Welcome Y'all!

Keep the Faith!

P.S. - Also do not forget my new books, "How to Run a Nonprofit" and "Tim's Senior Moments", both available in Printed and eBook form.

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, November 14, 2019

WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE DEMOCRATS

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- The nuances by which they operate.

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

I have been active in politics for nearly 48 years now as a Republican and have witnessed many changes to the party over the years. I have campaigned for candidates, served on political board of directors, served as a correspondent at political events, and have written about politics for well over a decade. As a political pundit, I am pleased to have correctly predicted the outcome of the 2016 and 2018 elections, and No, I certainly didn't do it by studying the polls (which are useless).

I have also watched as the Democrats have shifted from moderate positions to the far left. When I write about the Democrats I can always expect some visceral rebuttal. From this, I have learned some of their fundamental characteristics:

1. Democrats do not know how to argue, only attack. This is particularly true in Letters to the Editor or on-line replies. They usually rely on visceral sarcasm and obscene expletives to make their point in a Pavlovian type of response. This reflects their hatred and attempt to discredit the author by assassinating his/her character. Some have been so offensive, I have seen such postings automatically deleted by a publication. My question is, can you not argue without becoming belligerent?

Quite often, the Democrats set down a smoke screen in order to create a diversion and not answer a pointed question. They regularly parrot talking points as prescribed by the media. For example, they accuse President Trump of being a liar, a racist, a homophobic, xenophobic, etc. They have repeated it so often, they treat it as gospel. In reality, there is no evidence to indicate he is any of these things, only conjecture.

In my case, I have also noted Democrats do not read an article in its entirety, resulting in convoluted comments totally unrelated to the subject at hand. Strange.

Democrats honestly think they are smarter than everyone else; as such, they believe they are the only ones who know what is best for the country. Their arrogance is their Achilles' Heel and explains why they look upon the president's supporters as "deplorables" who are condemned for their "inferior intellects." This also contributes to their problem in arguing a point as Democrats believe it is below their dignity to argue with deplorables, only to dismiss them outright.

Democrats tend to see a conspiracy in everything they oppose which is why they insist on political correctness. Again, only their views are considered acceptable. This implies they want control, not compromise.

So, how do you argue with a Democrat? Stick to the facts and your principles. On-line, they do not believe in a fair debate, and rely on vicious discourse instead. As such, do not waste your time arguing with them. Also, in a public setting, do not allow yourself to be baited. The worst thing you can do is to engage in a heated rhubarb and be dragged down to their level where you may say something inappropriate and lose the respect of your audience. It is just not worth it.

2. Democrats understand the power of culture control. Not surprising, they set the trends in fashion, music, entertainment, and news media, anything appealing to the five senses. By doing so, they subliminally influence the perceptions of people as to what should be right and wrong.

Not surprising, they are mindful of the power of symbols which they either embrace or disgrace, such as the Black Lives Matter Flag vs. the Police Thin Blue Line American Flag, desecration of historical symbols, and treatment of patriotic icons, such as the American flag. In my travels with the press corps, it was rather obvious they choose their party over God and country.

Democrats have the luxury of controlling the public narrative, thanks, in large part, to their incestuous relationship with the news media. The morality of the Democrats is not the same as the public's. This was revealed not long ago by a Gallop Report, all because they are acutely aware of controlling the culture.

The party's political campaign playbook has long been that prescribed by Saul Alinsky, author of the book, "Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals Paperback." Alinsky, of course, is the well known Socialist community organizer who greatly affected the political schemes of President Obama, and Secretary Hillary Clinton. In a nutshell, his underlying theme in terms of politics is, "All is fair in love and war." This includes cheating and deceit in political campaigns.

3. Democrats do not assume responsibility for their actions. This became rather obvious recently with the resignation of Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) after reports surfaced of alleged sexual indiscretions with a congressional staffer and an admission to a relationship with a campaign aide. In her final speech on the House floor, she blamed others for revealing her indiscretions and claimed the role of victim. There was no admission she was at fault, that someone else must be.

4. Democrats believe they can buy votes simply by offering free goods and services. To illustrate, programs such as the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, and Free College Tuition, may sound nice to the uninformed, but the country simply cannot afford to implement any of it. These programs appeal to people who want a free lunch which simply doesn't exist as somebody has to pick up the bill. Somehow the Democrats have forgotten what President Kennedy, of their party, said at his inauguration, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Today, it is just the reverse.

So far the Democrats have been playing with money in the trillions of dollars. Let's hope they never discover what "quadrillion" means as they would spend it.

Most politicians tell the people what they want to hear. Conversely, President Trump tells the people what they need to hear. There is a difference.

Conclusion

I am certain my old moderate Democrat friends will argue with me on these points, but I would remind them it is a new day in Democrat politics. This is no longer your father's Democrat party. However, I'll be interested to read their response to this. Let's see if they know how to effectively argue.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. - Also do not forget my new books, "How to Run a Nonprofit" and "Tim's Senior Moments", both available in Printed and eBook form.

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, November 12, 2019

THE WHISTLE-BLOWER RULE IS WRONG

BRYCE ON POLITICS

- And may very well violate the Constitution.

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

The impeachment inquiry of President Trump has taken center stage in the political campaign of 2020, even to the point of overshadowing press coverage of the Democrat presidential candidates. The inquiry focuses on a statement from an alleged whistle-blower who expressed concern regarding a telephone call the President had with the incoming President of the Ukraine. As of this writing, the whistle-blower's identity remains anonymous. Frankly, we do not know if this is one person or several as the complaint appears to have been written by a team of lawyers. As a result, the President and his representatives cannot ask questions of his accuser.

I have tried to look at this from both sides, Republican and Democrat, and took the position; what if this was President Obama being impeached and not President Trump? Be it Republican or Democrat, I came to the same conclusions.

The protection of the whistle-blower's anonymity could easily be construed as in conflict with Amendment 6 of the Constitution (Rights of Accused in Criminal Prosecutions; the "Confrontation Clause"); to wit:

"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."

This applies to criminal cases, not civil. I tend to see impeachment as a rather serious situation, after all it is reserved for "high crimes and misdemeanors." It is also something we have considered only a handful of times in our republic's history, yet we have never removed a president from office.

Frankly, we all know it will not happen as the Senate will inevitably come to the president's defense and dismiss the charges coming from the House. The question remains, is impeachment a criminal case or civil? In all examples over the years, it has been treated as a heinous crime, which leads me to believe it is criminal and the President is being prohibited from facing his accuser(s).

Our history is littered with stories of whistle-blowers, such as in 2013 Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who ignited the U.S. surveillance program scandal. There are also the whistle-blowers involved with the Benghazi scandal and the IRS intimidation program. Whistle-blowers have actually been with us a long time. In my life, it goes back to Daniel Ellsberg who in 1969 released the "Pentagon Papers" to the "New York Times," detailing the military activity in Viet Nam under LBJ and Nixon. This, of course, ultimately triggered Watergate.

However, let's go a little further back in time to 1925 when the Army instigated a court-martial against Colonel Billy Mitchell, an episode which has quickly been forgotten in history, but has an important bearing on the whistle-blowers of today.

Although Mitchell is primarily credited for building Air Power in this country, his military career goes as far back as the Spanish-American War where he served as the youngest Army officer (at age 18). Mitchell's notoriety though began during "The Great War" (WWI) where, as Major, he became the first American officer to come under fire in the trenches of France. During the war, he earned several decorations and citations. More importantly, it was in France where he developed his fascination and passion for the airplane as a military weapon.

Mitchell understood the potential of the airplane. His superiors did not, and saw it as nothing more than a trivial instrument for observing enemy forces. They laughed at him when he claimed airplanes could sink a ship by dropping bombs on it. At the time, battleships were considered invincible. He finally got an opportunity to prove his claim and sank the German battleship "Ostfriesland" which was to be scuttled following the war. Nonetheless, the military was unimpressed. Following the war, in peacetime, there was an emphasis on shrinking the military. Even though Mitchell begged for money for research and development, he was ignored. He even urged the military to form a separate branch dedicated to an air service, but was denied. Consequently, American Air Power diminished almost to obscurity. The English, French, Italians, even the Germans had far superior airships than the Americans, and Mitchell made sure the newspapers knew about it.

Knowing Mitchell's image was growing larger in the press, the military sent him on remote assignments in order to eliminate his exposure in the press. In 1924 he was sent to study military defenses in the Pacific. During this time, he visited Japan and witnessed firsthand how the Japanese were embracing Air Power and realized America was far behind their counterparts. Following his tour he produced an extensive 323 page report on his assessment of American defenses in the Pacific. It was in this prophetic report that he predicted how Japan would attack Pearl Harbor with remarkable accuracy. Even though the military dismissed his report as ridiculous, Mitchell's predictions would come true 17 years later. Nonetheless, he was buried again by the military.

One year later, in 1925, the Navy dirigible "Shenandoah" was destroyed in a storm in Ohio, with a loss of thirteen lives. Mitchell was outraged as he knew the ship was archaic and denounced the Navy for its "almost treasonable" attitude towards aviation:

"As a patriotic American citizen, I can stand by no longer and see these disgusting performances...at the expense of the lives of our people and the delusion of the American public. We may all make mistakes but the criminal mistakes made by armies and navies, whenever they have been allowed to handle aeronautics, show their incompetence...This, then, is what I have to say on the subject, and I hope that every American will hear."(1)

Although Mitchell became a hero to the American people for his bold statements, his superiors felt otherwise and court-martialed him for insubordination. Actually, the court-martial was what Mitchell was hoping for as he figured it was the best way to bring attention to the problem and create change. The case garnered a lot of attention in the press, and many notable proponents of Air Power testified on his behalf. In the end though, Mitchell was suspended from the Army for five years. Instead, Mitchell resigned in 1926 and spent the remainder of his life speaking on behalf of Air Power. He would die in 1936 never knowing how accurate his predictions would become in World War II. In 1942, President Roosevelt, recognized Mitchell's contributions to Air Power by restoring his status and elevating him to the rank of Major General. In 1946, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, "in recognition of his outstanding pioneer service and foresight in the field of American military aviation"...10 years after his death. Today, this medal bears his likeness on it.

There are some similarities, as well as differences, between Billy Mitchell and today's impeachment whistle-blower(s). Mitchell was a visionary who used his court-martial to draw public attention to the problems of Air Power. Today's whistle-blower is not a visionary. He/She/They just stumbled on a problem and reported it. Whereas Mitchell stood and took his medicine as a military officer, thereby garnering the support of the American people, the impeachment whistle-blower(s) hid behind anonymity not wanting to suffer through a career ending court case as Mitchell did.

The big problem with becoming a whistle blower is that it doesn't pay well. You might earn the admiration of the American people, but you must also face the wrath of the establishment. It takes someone with a lot of character to stand up and report a problem, whether it be in the corporate world or government. The prime difference between Billy Mitchell and today's whistle-blower(s) is simple: Mitchell stood like a courageous man and took his medicine; the whistle-blower(s) has not. Understand this though, the American Air Power we know today can be directly attributed to the efforts of Billy Mitchell. Had he not spoken up when he did, our air defenses would have been primitive by the start of World War II. Mitchell knew what he was talking about and would not be intimidated by the powers in authority. This leads me to believe today's impeachment whistle-bower(s) can be intimidated, and perhaps has been threatened by others.

In the end, the president is entitled to face his accuser, whatever his/her/their name is.

1-"The Billy Mitchell Story" by Burke Davis, page 102

Keep the Faith!

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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

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