07/23/19

Iran And The F-35 Stealth Fighter

Last year, there was an important report that went unnoticed by the US media for more than a year. There is some confusion on this matter.

Israel was reported to have flown its IAF (Israeli Air Force) F-35I Adir planes (flight of three) over Iran and conducted photo recon over Tehran, Karajrak, isfahan, Shiraz, and Bandar Abbas.

This plane is the American F-35 adapted to specific Israeli requirements, hence the designation F-35I. It is a stealth warplane.

The question has been — how stealthy is the F-35? How would it perform v the Russian S-300 missile system and its supposedly cutting edge radar array?

Point of order: Greece, NATO ally, had purchased the Russian S-300 after their mid-1990s spat with Turkey over the Kardak islets sovereignty. The Greeks later gave the US one of the S-300s which the Americans tore apart to develop measures that overcame the Russian capabilities. Who says having NATO friends is all bad?

Iranian air defense systems — which includes cutting edge Russian radars, including the S-300 — failed to detect the entry, the exit, or the presence of these Israeli  stealth planes that stayed on station for an extended period of time over the most sensitive Iranian facilities including underground nuke manufacturing facilities. In other words, they were circling where they might have to bomb in the future.

It was a very real test of capabilities — the planes and the defenses. Scores as follows: IAF 100 v Iran 0 v Russian radar 0.

When the Iranians learned about this, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei fired the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force commander, Brigadier General Farzad Ismaili, who had been in office since 2010.

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07/23/19

Mandatory Arbitration

I have always been a fan of arbitration as a means of dispute resolution in business contracts as opposed to using the legal system. Arbitration — yes! Lawsuits — no!

Recently, companies have been requiring new employees to agree to a basis of employment that includes a dispute resolution technique based solely on binding arbitration. [Note: This is different, though similar, than binding arbitration in business contracts. Similar.]

The employees are being asked to give up their right to sue the company, their employer, as a condition of employment.

Good idea or nefarious overreach by the employer?

These are not contract employees, but “at will” employees. A contract employee has an Employment Agreement and the at will employee has an “understanding” or a “basis of employment” while still being subject to termination for no reason or good reason or any reason.

It is perfectly normal for an Employment Agreement to have some form of dispute resolution spelled out as part of the deal. This falls under the umbrella of “you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.”

Today, it is reported that more than 60,000,000 US employees are working under a mandatory arbitration arrangement for employment disputes. So, it is not uncommon.

[Note: Unions have their own dispute resolution procedures as part of their collective bargaining agreement. It often is based on arbitration or a form similar.]

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07/22/19

Beating the Apple Tax

The Apple Store (since 2008) and the Google Play Store (a few months later) exact a thirty percent tax on all transactions. That’s 30%! This is called the Apple Tax.

Image result for logo apple store

Folks who sell through the Apple and Google Play stores believe that is an obscenely high fee. Color your Big Red Car amongst those who hold that opinion. [Note: In this blog post, I will consider the interests and behavior of Apple/Google as one and the same for simplicity.]

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07/20/19

The Money Divide

Love may make the world go around, but it is money that pays for the trip. The world is divided between those who consume money (my tribe) and those who provide the money.

Amongst competing tribal loyalties are the classic American entrepreneur (consumer) and the venture capitalist (provider).

Image result for images of men shaking hands on a deal

Entrepreneurs propose an idea that requires a good slapping with a checkbook — a checkbook that, alas, they do not possess — to bring it to reality. The venture capitalist shows up with a checkbook and offers to assist.

This assistance may take many forms, but the most important thing to understand is that the two parties — the consumer of capital and the provider of capital — have, at times, different interests.

[I am being charitable as I believe the interests are not just different, they are many times divergent. When I consult with CEOs, when I coach CEOs, I always ensure they understand this simple fact. There is a money divide.]

In life, in business, one doesn’t get what one deserves, one gets what they negotiate. This is not a hard truth; it is a simple truth that many choose to avoid because it requires a bit of rigor or discipline to employ.

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07/18/19

Manhole v Personhole v Maintenance Hole

I have been on a journey of discovery. For a year I have struggled — admittedly unsuccessfully — with how to confront an increasingly more troubling, harsher, complex world.

This week, the Berkeley, California, City Council showed me the light when they renamed MANHOLES as MAINTENANCE HOLES, thereby driving off the offensive stank and horrific gender-biased nomenclature of such things. Hurrah!

Image result for images of manholes

It is with a light heart I now face life, secure in the knowledge that I and millions of others will no longer have to confront the indignity of improperly identified, gender-shamed public facilities.

MANHOLES are dead.

Long live MAINTENANCE HOLES.

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07/18/19

Confess — When In Trouble

When you learn to fly an airplane, you spend a huge amount of your training time learning what to do when things go wrong.

When you fly cross country, you are constantly looking at your GPS to locate the nearest airport and studying the land to see where you might put down safely if the plane’s engine were to quit.

You study the weather ahead of you. In the winter, you are constantly checking the air temperature, particularly if there is any moisture that could turn into ice on your wings. If you ascend or descend through a cloud and the temperature is below freezing, you will pick up ice. You can only haul a little bit of ice before the plane’s wings start to misbehave.

Part of your training is to memorize — Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, Confess.

Here is what that stuff means:

 1. Aviate — continue to fly the plane. Nothing good is going to happen if you stop flying the plane. You can put it on autopilot while you check the manual.

 2. Navigate — as you deal with the problem, fly toward the solution. If you have turned into a very heavy glider, glide toward the nearest airport where they will have emergency services.,

 3. Communicate — tell air traffic control what is going on. Stay in touch with them. They will tell you the direction of the nearest airport. They may have a recommendation on a good spot to land. They will clear the skies — make a hole in the air — for you. This is not their first rodeo.

I once made a terrible, stupid decision to fly down the East Coast on a summer afternoon when the cumulus clouds and thunderstorms were about ,thinking I could dodge the storms on the way to Charleston.

I found myself stuck amongst some storm cells in the Patuxent River area over the Chesapeake Bay. A cool ATC saint threaded me through the cells, thereby saving my stupid ass. He made it so damn easy, all I had to do was follow his instructions.

 4. Confess — when talking to air traffic control, tell them what you have done even if you have done something wrong. They can’t help you unless they know where you are, how you got there, your level of expertise as a pilot, and what you want them to help you with.

Declare an EMERGENCY because they have to stop what they are doing and give you priority treatment if you do that one thing.

This also applies to CEOs running companies, be they startups, small or medium sized businesses.

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07/17/19

Delivery — A Super Power

I was looking at something related to Domino’s Pizza and a thought jumped into my brain. Over the last ten years, Domino’s (NYSE – DPZ) has been a great performer — as as stock. Look at what they have done. Most impressive. Pizza.

stock chart

They were the pioneers in pizza delivery. Today, they have 16,000 units and expect to add 2,350 additional units by 2028.

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07/17/19

The Day Decorum Died in the US Congress

Spoiler alert — this is a blog post about how the US Congress is wasting their time and our money while engaged in meaningless self-flagellation.

So, President Donald J Trump unleashed the power of Twitter in his inimitable style. It offended a few folks.

There is no novelty amongst that trio — Trump, Twitter, folks taking offense. Let me take that a step further — if Trump is tweeting, he is pissing people off.

Pro tip: He does it on purpose. It’s part of his schtick. When you react to it, you are doing exactly what he wants you to do. He got elected using his Twitter antics. He is the King of Twitter. He will only stop when you stop feeding the beast.

Amongst those offended were The Squad. The Squad — also known as AOC Plus Three — had flung some invective his direction and he responded with Tweets that they classified as RACIST.

RACIST racist RACIST

Calling somebody a racist these days is the new normal. The word itself has lost any grounding in the English language. If anybody disagrees with another, they are a racist. It is slipping into the lexicom like the word “dude.”

I have a pal with whom I enjoy discussing the issues of the day. Before we start chatting, we both say, “Dude, you’re a hopelessly clueless racist.” That keeps us from having to build to that crescendo. Gets us off on the right foot.

BTW, I think you are a racist. Glad we got that out of the way.

This happened after AOC implied Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was also a racist for singling out The Squad — The Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse — for picking on them because they were “women of color.”

Nancy, trying to ingratiate herself with AOC suggested that any Dem in “her” district could get elected including a GLASS OF WATER. Ouch. So we had some raw nerves amongst the Speaker (Wily Coyote), AOC, and The Squad.

Image result for images aoc

There is no quicker trigger finger in the Congress than Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when it comes to hurling racist invective. You’re drawing your six gun and Alex has already fired and hit you twice, amigo.

I dig AOC.

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07/16/19

Libra v The Senate

Today, the US Senate grilled Facebook’s Chief Libracan about all things Libra.

David Marcus is actually the head of Facebook’s crypto wallet subsidiary, Calibra. He was offered up as a human sacrifice to the US Senate Banking Committee to lay out the Libra project.

Reports are he was able to walk out on his power.

David Marcus, head of Facebook's Calibra (digital wallet service), testifies before a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on "Examining Facebook's Proposed Digital Currency and Data Privacy Considerations" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 16, 2019.

Marcus had the polished demeanor of a patient who had a regular, weekly colonoscopy or a barbed wire enema just to keep his game sharp. At times, I detected a bit of the third-grade-geometry-teacher-helping-one-of-the-slow-kids tone in his voice. Guy was masterful at giving non-answer answers.

In general, the hearings started out as a hate fest with various Senators laying out the case against Facebook as a lazy protector of privacy whose motto is “Move Fast, Break Things.”

The fact that Facebook had just agreed to a $5,000,000,000 fine to the Federal Trade Commission (3-2 vote with the Republicans on the FTC controlling the outcome) for privacy mischief probably contributed to the generally angry-high-school-wrestling-coach reception of guys like Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio.

“Like a toddler who has gotten his hands on a book of matches, Facebook has burned down the house over and over and called every arson a learning experience.”

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07/16/19

Eyes on China

The US – China relationship was kicked into gear by President Trump on many levels. When he took office, the Chinese had just seized a dozen reefs and atolls in the South China Sea, fortified them, and installed advanced weaponry that could control sea lanes through which 40% of international commerce flowed. Every step of the way, the Chinese lied as to their intentions.

The Chinese said the initial sand reclamation programs were to stabilize the atolls, not to build 12,000 foot long runways capable of receiving or launching every plane in the Chinese military inventory.

President Trump and President-For-Life Xi met face-to-face and our President said things to Xi, things that had been left unsaid for decades.

“Hey, President-For-Life Xi, you Chinese are cheaters in the trade game. You’re stealing our tech, you’re manipulating your currency, and you’re blocking access to your markets to great American companies, all the while enjoying unfettered access to the American market. That isn’t right.”

“So what, Orange Man?” President-For-Life Xi retorted. “What are you going to do about it?”

“I’m going to talk shit at you — something I am very good at. I’m going to give you a chance to negotiate a trade treaty to fix these problems. Then, I am going to slap tariffs on you if we can’t make a deal. You need us a lot more than we need you.”

“Why don’t we negotiate about this, Mr. President Donald J Trump?” President-For-Life Xi asked, hoping the negotiations would be long and the status quo could be maintained. Maybe President-For-Life Xi hoped President Trump would not be re-elected. Who knows?

See the source image

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