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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Walking a Mile in Another’s Shoes

It has been rightly said, if you want to learn something about someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

I was reminded of this when our dryer went out -- then the washer died a couple days ago. Forget Iran, THIS is SERIOUS. When the dirty laundry is piling up, is it a world crisis at home. Action can no longer be delayed. We should try this tactic in Washington sometime.

Many Americans have had it so good for so long that they (we) have forgotten what it is like for those who don’t have such luxuries. God just reminded me that it is CRITICAL to have a working washer/dryer to be remotely civilized. One trip to the Washateria was a real eye opening experience for my wife.

We have to find solutions to make civilized things like appliances, clean water, better jobs more accessible – worldwide.

One of those civilized things is the nano-technology product I became involved with --XO Armor. It provides a tangible security for protecting people -- right here, right now. It is a major upgrade to the most vulnerable thing that surrounds us – glass. I am discovering applications worldwide.

Since becoming the accidental Counter Terrorism advisor in 1991, it is amazing how much of our world has become focused on security--necessarily.

I believe that it will remain that way in the space-global-nuclear-nano technology 21st Century.

I will be traveling extensively this year, viewing security from a global perspective.

Tom Friedman's piece today (Jan 31 2007) on Iran should be required reading in Washington. Iran has a long history of protecting its minority Christians and Jews who live there, despite their current weird President. Our other allies don't. We can't afford further mistakes.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Leading the World We Know Nothing About

Well, this is scary. America leads the world - yet check out what these American know - or don't know - about it. Yikes.

Friday, January 26, 2007

An Hour with Congressman Lampson

I ended up spending an informative hour today with our new CD22 Congressman Nick Lampson today. It is great having a representative who is down-to-earth, focused on solutions and not arrogant.

Nick is very thoughtful and is interested in helping CD22 get the transportation and security options that were ignored or delayed by the former Congressman (who remains under indictment). As a result we are a decade behind in our commuter rail – and short over $100 million that Houston would have received, except for Mr. DeLay’s striking it from Houstons Metro -- and giving it to other cities like Dallas who are now ahead of Houston. Ft. Bend has tens of thousands of commuters to the Medical center and downtown that could have used it to cut the increasingly clogged freeways.

We briefed Nick on the International Festival for Ft. Bend County that some of us have set up as a non-profit entity. More on that later. In the meantime, I believe that we have a great representative for CD 22. Normally CD 22 would have a representative from the minority party. As it stands, we have a rep with the majority in Congress. When it comes to the good of the district (getting road/rail funds, etc.), that is very important.

Oh yes, despite her close call with the Minou’s “Paws of Death” yesterday, she escaped without a scratch.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Puppies and Presidents - Cuba and China

Puppy Paloma is learning that life can be strange. One of our cats has tried to make friends; the other has tried to kill her for getting too close. That has to be confusing for her.

But probably no more so that the latest State of the Union when the President sounded more like a Democrat and it was his own party sitting on their hands. Maybe puppies and Presidents have things in common after all.

I attended a World Affairs lunch. The speaker Joachim Bamrud, editor of the Latin Business Chronicle, gave an excellent briefing on the state of Latin America. Despite Mr. Chavez, business is moving in. He thinks Latin American countries will swing back towards the center.

He made an astute comment about Cuba. Young Cubans would love to embrace more freedoms and democracy, but currently their incomes and livelihoods are tied to Cuban government paychecks. He said if those same young people were working for U.S. or foreign companies (say, at hotels, etc.), then they would have the freedom to defy the Cuban status quo.

This confirms what I’ve thought for a long time. Our policy towards Cuba should be the same as it has been towards China – engaging in economic trade will eventually change the rest. Young Chinese love business and traveling, and not Communism.

But policies can be strange things too…

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Arnie & the Women for President '08

The Chinese curse is "May you live in interesting times." It is definitely becoming interesting....

It is becoming a "Cast of Thousands" – The Prez Race of '08 is ON.

One person I wish was running for President is someone who has been coming up with innovative solutions on pressing issues from greenhouse gases to our future needs. CA Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would be a great President.

Why? Because he’s a common sense, creative Centrist with innovative ideas on addressing these major issues in a bipartisan, solution-focused manner.

But under the U.S. Constitution, Austrian-born Arnie is not eligible to run for or be President. That is a shame. He has been doing tremendous job in bringing California into a leadership role in 21st Century issues. He also has the critical global background a President and his/her team must have if our country is to succeed in a techno-global 21st century in which more and more countries control their own nuclear and space technology.

Should the rule be changed? Maybe.

It won’t happen before 2008 so the next best thing is the Gov’s wife running for him!? We already have our first possible woman President as an official candidate, but we need more. There are no women candidates for President on the GOP side so far. Why not?

I have come to the inconvenient conclusion that it will probably take having the women in charge to civilize this planet anyway. Raw facts are facts. The men haven’t managed it after several thousand years in command --and we seem to be further away than closer to it.

So what do we have to lose by giving the Presidency to a globally experienced woman? For that reason I’d like to see several more women candidates running for President in ’08.

On the home front Paloma, the white fur ball puppy, is going at warp speed. Lex, former beta dog has shifted to adult “mama dog” setting limits. Paloma is a blur bouncing off the walls.

So are the growing "cast of thousands" running for President of this great country in 2008.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

China's Space Weapons - We need Prez with Global Strategy

China just destroyed one of its aging weather satellites with a new space weapon. If it can destroy a satellite, then all satellites including our military satellites are vulnerable as potential targets. We could be seeing the beginning of a new space race - a race to put weapons into space.

Or ban them. The militarization of space is a big issue that needs to be discussed.

I think we made a mistake by not including China in building the International Space Station. It would be better to have them part of the global team pursuing peaceful joint projects instead of pushing them away from us so they can focus on building their own space weapons systems. That could put us in a 21st Century version of the last cold war. The changes in China since my first negotiating trip there in 1982 are incredible. They have gone from bicycles to rockets in a generation.

Our next President needs a global strategy for handling these issues before entering office. The candidates need to share those plans with the public. It won't help us to pick a President with little experience beyond our border. We can't afford to have a chief executive guessing which advisor is right or making it up as we go.

It won't help us as a country if the next President and his/her team have no real world experience in cultures as diverse as Asia's and the Middle East. We need someone who knows how cultures think; we don't need someone guessing what to do with billions of dollars and lives at stake.

We need a President in 2008 (and beyond) with worldwide experience and a strategy to keep America in the global game. China is just one example of that challenge in this new global century.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

When the World is a Mess, Save Somebody

If this one day of ice was our worst ice storm of the season, we will be very lucky. My wife says the one ten years ago was much worse – nearly a whole week of ice. I totally missed it so it doesn’t exist. I had just left for South Africa (which is having summer now) and had no idea. The whole thing happened while I was gone.

I say this: “When the World is a Mess, Save somebody." A few days ago my wife discovered a puppy at our vet that had been found living under a house with her mother and siblings. They may not have survived this last storm. Fortunately, a lady who cares found them. Thank god for people like her.

Since we lost Henri several months ago, our other dog Lex has seemed lonely and bored. I’ve been busy but noticed that she wasn’t eating much. So we adopted 3 month old “Paloma” – (in photo) Spanish for “Dove.” She was the last one left. She is a white fur ball mess. She was soon into Lex’s food and Lex suddenly became very interested in what was happening to it.

If you are interested in my latest article “Time for a Surge in Diplomacy” here is the link:

People interested in getting Global American articles have to add themselves to the mail list at that location. I don't add people. So far, more sign up than drop off, so the list keeps growing.

Weird weather. What’s next?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Army Logic is Killing Our Troops

The U.S. army seems to be in another world from reality. American troops are being killed by RPG’s – rocket propelled grenades –in Iraq. Right now, there is nothing to stop one from hitting a U.S. vehicle once launched.

However, our ally Israel has developed an operational system called “Trophy” that shoots down RPG’s before they kill troops. It works. It is available TODAY.

Yet the army decision maker geniuses above them want to wait until 2011 to put a defensive system into operation to protect troops from RPG’s! Army engineers have approved Trophy but not the geniuses who want to protect a U.S. contractor more than our troops.

In the Army’s upside down logic, it’s better to spend billions and wait years for the arrival of an American system—to be build for $150 billion by Raytheon-- rather than using an available Israeli system. This is nuts. How many troops will die because of this strange “Alice in Wonderland” thinking?

How is this supporting U.S. troops?

Someone in the army hierarchy needs to face court martial for gross stupidity and indifference. Apparently the army brass thinks it is more important to give the business to Raytheon and let troops die for the next 5 years instead of protecting them NOW with currently available life-saving technology supplied by Israel.

It explains why this war is going badly and why recruitment rates are down.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Global oil power grabs, a plant accident, and big decisions needed

While America is focused on Iraq, Russia cut off oil to Germany and Poland today, showing how vulnerable Europe is.

The nutty part is that Russia did it because they are mad at – Belarus (not the Germans). But when you cut a pipeline you cut off all consumers, not just a few.

In Venezuela today, Hugo Chavez declared plans to nationalize the electric industries.

Here in Sugar Land, our day’s surprise was a strange, white cloud that filled the blue sky over a NALCO plant. The news had us wondering if we were breathing toxic fumes. The wind was from the north so it blew over highway 59 -- towards neighborhoods with lots of kids. Many elderly live on highway 90 near the plant. If the wind had been from the south it would have blown “whatever it was” over my offices in the Sugar Land Business Park. Traffic was blocked off on the highways in SW Houston.

I wondered what would happen if motorists were caught in noxious fumes from a plant in this or a future accident? I had planned a trip to Richmond, the county seat, on highway 90 but that would require going next to the plant spewing an unknown substance.

So I went another direction. (Bush may or may not be about to do the same in Iraq).

Other than global oil power grabs, a plant accident, and big decisions needed on Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, etc., it was a beautiful blue, cool, Texas day…

Friday, January 05, 2007

Get all Americans on a routine health program

History was made yesterday in America. The first ever woman was made speaker of the house. Instead of being sworn into the new Congress, I was getting my first ever colonoscopy.

Both went smoothly. Both were significant.

Which was more important? Both.

Because without health, what do we have? At 57, it was past time to get checked.

It was painless. It was simple. It took only a couple hours of time. The doctor found nothing to be concerned about. Others have found dangerous polyps. Many have died because they never got checked, so I encourage everyone to make it part of ongoing health maintenance.

Rep. Nick Lampson from my district in Texas (CD22) recently felt ill at dinner and had to be rushed to a hospital. It turned out to be a clogged artery. It was easily repaired and now he’s doing great.

We should treat people like aircraft, not cars. Pilots learn that you fix things on airplanes before they break; is a routine. People often wait for the part to fail to fix their car.

Preventive medicine is essential. Waiting can be too late. Everyone should be on a schedule to get certain annual/bi-annual checks.

How else to get warnings of life threatening problems?

History was made. Now what is important is bipartisan cooperation replacing mindless partisanship. We need solutions to common ground problems, from energy to Iraq.

I propose that Congress consider a way to get all Americans on a routine health program.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Global American Series for Youth

On New Year ’s Eve I was at a party by a member of our church when the young teen came up to me and asked: “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Bill Gates?”

“No,” I said. It was good for a laugh.

But like Gerald Ford, I think Bill Gates is a unique leader of his time – because of his global vision to help those most in need.

While talking to that young man, the grandson of another church member, I realized something. It dawned on me that the youth of our country need a worldly education to thrive in this new world.

Therefore, I will be working on taking the “Global American” series to schools. Part of it will teach what President Gerald Ford taught us – the value of honesty and integrity.

Gerald Ford was a unifier. He inherited the tough job of extracting the U.S. from Vietnam. He had no demons, no hit list. He did not develop a big ego or a personality cult. He had common sense. He could work with members of both parties. We need more like him.

Goodbye Mr. Ford. We shall miss you.

More announcements will be forthcoming.