Monthly Archives: May 2014

Random Thoughts On Current Topics

I’m disappointed that Condoleeza Rice recently withdrew her name from giving the commencement speech at Rutgers University. There was a very small but vocal crowd of professors and students who objected to her, even going so far as to label her a “war criminal.” This is disgraceful and unjustified behavior. “Condi” Rice deserves respect and admiration for what she has done with her life. Had I been the Rutgers president I would have doubled her fee to $70,000 and encouraged her to come ahead. As for the small but vocal minority, they have every right to voice their disapproval in a free country such as ours, but the university president should have stood up to them and told them she was coming ahead anyway and not to try to disrupt her speech. Advising those that objected to her that they were free not to attend the commencement would also have been appropriate.

The VA scandal must be added to the growing list of scandals plaguing this administration. As I have pointed out in previous blogs, President Obama was and is inexperienced, unqualified, incompetent, a liar, and corrupt. He should never have been elected in the first place. Now the country is paying the price for this mistake, a mistake which, hopefully, will not be repeated. Electing someone with no prior experience at running anything, no demonstrating of leadership abilities, no showing of experience in solving problems, is simply appalling. The VA scandal is only the latest example of this incompetence. Obama had notice of this issue years ago and failed to address it while it continued to fester. Now it has reached the critical stage with reports of veterans dying because of lack of treatment. This is an outrageous way to treat our veterans.

Appointing Representative Trey Gowdy (Rep. S.C.) to chair the House Select Committee investigating the Benghazi attack which took the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens was a huge step in the right direction. As a former prosecutor, he will know how to get answers. Getting to the bottom of this tragedy where four Americans died is long overdue. Although Obama promised transparency in his presidency many times, it has not been forthcoming here. The public has a right to know why this happened, who is to be held responsible, and why none of the attackers have been brought to justice. The anticipated testimony of Hillary Clinton should be very enlightening. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s appointment of five Democrats to this committee, long overdue, gives it additional credibility although I have my doubts as to how helpful they will be.

Appointing a special prosecutor into the IRS scandal is also long overdue. But waiting for the very partisan Attorney General Eric Holder to do it means it will be a long wait. Obama has denied that there is even a “smidgen” of corruption here. Yet it is extremely doubtful that the IRS undertook this on its own. I wonder where the instructions originated? Hmmm.

The bottom line in all of this is that there has been a total and complete lack of accountability by this president in everything he has touched including but not limited to the Obamacare roll out. There is yet some two and one half years to go for this administration. Hopefully additional damage to the credibility of the country will be kept to a minimum. But the mistakes of this president must not be repeated. In 2016, we need to elect a president who has demonstrated an ability to govern and making the tough decisions, one who can restore America to its greatness in the world.

One last thought. Under the parliamentary system of government, a no confidence vote can lead to the formation of a new government. That system doesn’t exist in this country but it’s an interesting thought.

Copyright©Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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Toyota Leaves California For Texas – No Thanks To Jerry Brown.

I have lived in California for many years having moved here from the Washington D.C. area to get away from both D.C. and the accounting profession. That was way back in the early 1960s, when California seemed to be much more attractive and vibrant than now. Having Ronald Reagan elected governor didn’t hurt the image either. But to say that the gloss is off of the Golden State is an understatement.

It is an inescapable fact that California is hostile to business. The democratic controlled legisalature seem not to realize that healthy businesses create jobs. A healthy job market is good for everyone, especially the middle class. I recall when practicing law that it cost a small business trying to incorporate $800.00 in minimum franchise tax fees, a tax that had to be paid whether the business was successful or not. I thought that minimum fee was unconscionable then and still do. But that’s just one example. There are many others.

Nissan moved to Nashville many years ago, Occidental Petroleum announced it is leaving Los Angeles at the end of the year, and now Toyota is leaving Torrance, California and moving its U.S. base to Plano, Texas, taking some 3,000 jobs along with it. It may be tough to single out any one person to blame for this but I think much of the fault lies with Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown. As pointed out in a recent media piece, not only is Brown’s claim that California is back “fraudulent,” the fact remains that the state is on a course to financial ruin. This will undoubtedly hurt the middle class the most. Brown is a lackluster career politician with little imagination and initiative. He should have seen the Toyota move happening some time ago and taken steps to try to prevent it. Perhaps if he spent more time trying to improve California’s business climate instead of pursuing his $68 billion “boondoogle” bullet train project Toyota might still be here.

Admittedly this is an oversimplified view of what has transpired. But it seems to me that more could have been done to avoid this disappointing situation. Moreover, I have not read of any attempts to find creative solutions to this state’s hostile business environment. Maybe the democratic controlled legislature in Sacramento just doesn’t care.

California had the opportunity to elect a younger, more vibrant governor, Meg Whitman, in the last election but chose the hidebound Brown. Now the state is paying the price for that shortsightedness. What the state needs is dynamic leadership and more resourcefulness, qualities that are clearly lacking now in the Governor’s office. As you may have guessed, I’m not a Jerry Brown fan. I still can’t get over his appointing Rose Bird as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. That was admittedly during his first term as governor back in the 70s. But she had had no prior experience as a judge, none, and I felt then, as I do now, that it was probably the most irresponsible act of any politician I had ever seen.

In all fairness it should be noted that Brown’s current budget seeks to repay some $11 billion in state debt. This does reflect some degree of fiscal responsibility in Sacramento. Nevertheless much more fiscal innovation is needed. The state is approaching $1 trillion in unfunded debt with no plan for paying it off. Losing Toyota does not help.

I am beginning to believe that California is simply too big to be managed by the likes of Jerry Brown. Splitting the state up into more than one state may be the best answer. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Copyright©2014 Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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To Develop Confidence In Your Writing, You Must Overcome Self doubt.

With the ongoing explosion in global communications in this age of high technology, writing has become more important than ever before. In January, 2012, in one of my first blogs, I addressed the problem of overcoming self doubt in writing. This is such a an important topic that it deserves a repeat look.

Many people don’t write well because they don’t believe they can. They have no confidence in their writing. “I’m not a good writer!” is an all too often heard personal lament. For those of you who believe they fit into that category, i.e., those who don’t believe they are good writers but want to be, my book, “The Art of Clear Writing,” (available on amazon.com and in print), can help. It provides an organized guide to clear writing fundamentals and sets forth down-to-earth, well-established writing guidelines and techniques that have worked well for others, not hard and fast rules that must be committed to memory and followed at all costs.

As mentioned in the introduction, the underlying proposition of this book is that clear writing is an art form – it can be learned. Anybody can write well – but you need the desire and dedication to do it. If you’re willing to put in the time and learn the skills, the satisfaction and rewards will come. These guidelines and techniques are capable of being learned through application and practice, and should result in a marked improvement in your writing. Even if writing is not your strong suit, you can still improve your writing dramatically by following the guidelines and techniques explained in my book.

Also bear in mind that writing, any writing, is a form of salesmanship, i.e., you are selling yourself. It is a basic sales truism that people will buy from you if they trust you. That truism applies to writing as well. Whatever your purpose in writing may be, whether you’re applying for a job, selling a product or service, writing personal or business letters, writing a company manual, or even preparing something as basic as an interoffice memo, the reader must trust you for your writing to be successful. Achieving this trust will depend on the respect and credibility emanating from your writing. If the reader believes you to be a credible writer and trusts you, you’ve gone a long way toward accomplishing your primary writing goal of selling the reader on whatever you’re writing about. Attracting that trust can be achieved only if you dedicate yourself to improving your writing skills.

Where do you start? Begin with a positive attitude toward what you’re doing, whether writing or speaking. John Adams, one of our Founding Fathers and a prominent lawyer by trade, successfully argued to the jury during the Boston Massacre trial of 1770 that “facts are stubborn things” and cannot be changed no matter how strong are your passions. Adams strongly believed in the rule of law and that the British soldiers he defended (successfully, it should be added), who were accused of murder when they fired their muskets into an angry mob, were innocent.

Thoughts are also things according to Napoleon Hill, author of the influential and best selling personal achievement book, “Think and Grow Rich.” Hill postulated that thoughts can be very powerful things when mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for success.

I’m also reminded of Tim Gallwey’s best seller, “The Inner Game of Tennis”, which is largely about developing the ability to focus your attention on the task at hand. It is more about solving life’s problems by learning the art of relaxed focus and attention to achieve peak mental performance, i.e., getting into a “zone”, than playing tennis.

Clear writing thus depends to a large extent on the power of belief, belief that comes from having confidence in your writing. When you have that confidence, it will show – the reader can see it. To obtain confidence you must master what can best be described as the “inner game” of writing, overcoming mental blocks to clear writing. As with other challenges in life, you must develop the right mental attitude. In other words, you can’t write clearly if you are nagged by anxiety and self doubt about your writing. Persistence and determination to write well are omnipotent.

Following the guidelines and techniques set forth in this book is a good start to improving your writing. But it’s also definitely helpful to read self-help books on salesmanship and self esteem in conjunction with your writing development. Good salesmanship depends in large part on having confidence in yourself. Acclaimed lecturer and author Jeffrey Gitomer writes in his “Little Red Book of Selling,” (p.193), that the theme of your success is to believe that you can achieve whatever you set your mind to. His book is an excellent place to start. And keep one of his favorite axioms in mind, “hard work makes luck,” (p.36).

Here’s the bottom line. Whether playing tennis or writing, you must develop confidence in your ability. The best way to gain confidence in your writing ability is by working at it. Practice your writing continuously. Refine it as you go. Study the style and technique of other writers. The more you read and write, the more your writing will improve, which should increase your confidence.

Copyright © Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.

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No Blog This Week.

Regretfully, there will be no blog posted this week. Arnold Regardie.

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