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How to save money and create jobs Mr. Obama and Congress?

First, bring home tens of thousands of military troops, both from our active war fronts and from over-staffed bases in Germany, Italy, Japan and South Korea. Save billions of the dollars now going overseas that supports them in their pointless current military missions.

Next, either reassign or rehire many of those soldiers as the initial core of a new jobs corps to go to work on rebuilding the failing infrastructure of this country. They have the leadership and discipline and ability to get the job started. Money spent by them will stay in the U.S. Contract private enterprise to create more jobs by providing expertise, equipment and supplies to build bridges, repair roads, restore urban infrastructure, airports and so on. Offer America’s youth who can’t afford college right now, and other unemployed people the opportunity to join the job corps, learn skills and serve the nation.

Mr. President and Congress, the time to start building a Job corps, and relieving a combat corps is — yesterday!

CEO’s and others in positions of power can take a cautionary lesson on the potential ultimate transparency of their management practices, especially if those practices are perceived as extreme, from this new article in Fortune Magazine — — that tells an insider story of the rapid rise and fall of Pfizer CEO Jeff Kindler, who was also an ex-McDonald’s executive to whom I once reported.

That’s it! I disown both the Republican and Democratic parties in the U.S. Their inability to work together in the national interest is subverting the economic reputation of our country.

In college, I was a young Republican, and believed in economic conservatism, with a measure of social liberalism. Thanks to the Vietnam War and the greed of conservatives, I became a staunch Democrat.

It’s increasingly become clear that neither party any longer represents the range of my beliefs and interests, and I’ve concluded that the only hope for this country is a multi-party system like much of Europe has, where one can find at least a smaller set of issues to rally support around, and then form some sort of coalition to elect a government.

We badly need a Constitutional Convention to revisit the principles upon which this nation stands. We need to get rid of the archaic and dangerous Electoral College system of undemocratically electing our Presidents. We need something like a Balanced Budget Amendment to control debt and balance revenue with spending. We need some process to protect us from the military imperialism that now characterizes our nation. Our elitist economic structure is sliding down a path towards the modern-day equivalent of the French Revolution, unless Congress, the White House and the judiciary recognize and prioritize the social values that the American people, as a democracy, hold dear. We need to protect the State from all churches, if we hope to preserve freedom of religion and freedom from religion. We need to build a new commitment to education and an enlightened and compassionate dedication to protection of the poor into our culture and economy. We need Congressional term limits, to get fresh thinking and avoid entrenched politicians. We need to control campaign contributions so our representatives are not bought and sold. We need a military draft so that our population and government stay aligned on military adventurism. And we should start an alternative domestic service draft, sort of like the WPA of the Roosevelt era, to rebuild our infrastructure and build a sense of public service among our youth.

And if I never hear the tainted words Republican or Democrat again, that’s just fine with me. I will continue to vote, but with great hesitation to support any incumbent, of either current party, in future Federal elections, unless they demonstrate a commitment to higher principles than those who are currently sold-out to dogmatic, selfish interests.

I haven’t lost faith in the American people, just in the obsolete, insular and out-of-touch political parties that pose as representative of fundamentally good people.

It should come as no surprise that the DOD’s technology wing has caught on that social media can and is being used as a weapon, not just of mass influence, but of aggression, as demonstrated by the increasingly dangerous flash mobs on our doorstep in Chicago’s Gold coast to inciting revolution in the Arab Spring in Egypt and across the Middle East.

The U.S. military has long monitored media where it’s been concerned about public unrest. When I was a young information officer in the Army, and there were protests of nuclear missile batteries along Chicago’s lakefront, to protect us from Russian bombers and missiles, we monitored local radio and TV stations and sent daily reports into the Pentagon.

The real question is what technology the military might develop and mount to compromise the power of today and tomorrow’s social media, if social instability were at stake.

If I were a PR counsel to Rupert Murdoch, and am sure glad I’m not, I’d advise that he convene combined forums of journalism academics and leading working editors and journalists, from print and electronic media, representing conventional and social media, from around the globe, and dig deep into the subject of journalistic ethics, with the goal of setting new universal standards for the 21st century.

Murdoch should make a serious investment, financially and in transparency, in the results and agree to take the lead in aggressively implementing and policing new ethical practices across whatever remains of his own journalistic empire, if he still has one by that time.

However, I’m not holding my breath…nor would I buy a used car from him.

The Huffington Post is infamous for aggregation of news: lifting facts and information from other stories and rewriting them on their own site. Google News, which I love and use all the time, is a great aggregator of stories I’m interested in. There’s a good discussion on the pros and cons of aggregation at: As for me, I do it on my blog all the time, hopefully with due credit to the sources I use. Despite copyrights and such, I know it’s true that one’s unique claim to information reported is good only until another reporter reads it, and finds they can use it from their own, hopefully unique, perspective.

The bottom line for me is this: use and integrate information wherever you find it, but don’t cheat.

This was the recent Big Foot Airport air show at Walworth, WI. Here’s more of the prop and engine.Here’s the front of the bi-plane. And finally, here’s the entire beautiful bi-plane on the grass at Big Foot. And here's an antique sea plane, shortly before taking off for Geneva Lake. src=”” alt=”” title=”P1010879″ width=”490″ height=”367″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-1572″ />

My most costly magazine subscription is “The Economist” magazine ( @ $138/yr, with some lower deals available), but I think it’s the best buy, because of articles like the current (July 9-13) issue’s 14-page special report on the future of news, called, in its inimical British way, Back to the Coffee House.

In their lead story, the magazine reviews steps individuals can take to mitigate their worries about the transformation of the news business: “As producers of new journalism, they can be scrupulous with facts and transparent with their sources. As consumers, they can be catholic in their tastes and demanding in their standards.”

This special Economist in-depth section on the future of news brings the historical and social context of news into sharp new focus, and in my humble opinion, as a lifetime student of journalism, deserves to be required reading in schools that teach journalism, public relations and communications (reprints are available). As The Economist enjoins: “The coffee house is back. Enjoy it.”

July 2011

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