Getting to the root of the problem
The Tea Party, mostly villainized by demagoguery from the left, has at it’s core a very positive message. Balance the budget, secure the borders, trim the size of the federal government and more. These are very basic and ethical wants most Americans share, but that isn’t the problem.
The problem is that the modern day Tea Party offers a my way or no way proposition. No give and take, and because it isn’t represented by a platform of tolerance of it’s opposition, it fails fundamentally at the art of basic negotiation. Few Americans believe the federal government shouldn’t utilize it’s power of influence, nor it’s purse to further the American Dream, raise people out of poverty, or at least fund simple tools to allow individual Americans to lift themselves from poverty or even life’s temporary setbacks.
Right now on the Right, there is a call to defund Obamacare, and Tea Partiers are already out in force letting their elected officials know how it’s my way or the highway. Challengers are already emerging ahead of the midterm elections to overthrow powerful legislators on the Right, believing their naivety will certainly impact how the majorities will come down on Tea Party issues. This is such a misguided approach to politics (which are built on the very premise of give and take). Albeit their agenda sounds wonderful when spoken aloud, it’s not so black and white – in fact it’s practically gray.
Republicans in the House face an incredible challenge in defunding Obamacare, as there will be certain consequences to defunding an estimated $50 Billion from a multi-trillion dollar program without replacing it with something more efficient that makes sense and costs much less. There’s a whole lot of harping on Hannity and other know-it-alls on radio and TV, but very little solution offering, and why is that? It simply looks like Tea Party forced obstruction by Republicans, rather than real solutions to real American concerns. Don’t believe me? Just ask Michele Bachmann and all others who have gone to Congress with the mission of obstruction without real solutions.
It isn’t a party
The Tea Party isn’t a party, it’s a movement, a movement similar to a landslide or an avalanche. You can’t predict the outcome because there isn’t a clean cut plan that suits the needs of the individuals that it is comprised of.
So I say to established Republicans in the House, forget the Tea Party drama on the street, and do what you should be doing, which is legislating new law that allows healthcare companies to expand across state lines, that allows large corporations, associations, and organizations to group their plans together. Kick out the lobbyists that argue otherwise. Pass it, and sell it as the alternative, and then defund Obamacare and force a compromise that does not cost the tax payers trillions and gives pause to shutting down the government as a weapon.
The House side should also more quickly engage the border issue, and take seriously the bill in the Senate, massage it, sell it, pass it, and satisfy the majority and not just the Tea Party.
Extreme negotiations typically fail
I would love to identify myself with the Tea Party, but just like I do not side with the far Left’s my way or no way style of negotiation, I see the Tea Party in much the same way – it’s an extreme way to negotiate, and a poor way to get things done that need to be done now.
I’m just a citizen that runs a business that deals in negotiation on a daily basis, and I’ve learned the hard way that unorganized demands without solutions typically end in nothing. Much like Newt worked with Clinton, Congress can work with this President if alternative plans are sold by Congress and not in shouting matches in Townhalls.
You can’t please everyone, but you could save the country trillions of dollars that could otherwise be used to beef up America’s already amazing healthcare system – St. Jude’s comes to mind, mental health care and outpatient treatment, rebuilding the country’s infrastructure and so much more. Lowering the cost of coverage across state lines could allow some of those trillions to be used as subsidies to get the poorest of America’s uninsured into the system, thus accomplishing the goals set out in Obamacare, keeping in place existing condition laws, as well as allowing parents to cover their children until 26.
Stripping out rhetoric is fair
I make it sound simple, but it’s on purpose – there’s simply no rhetoric used here, it’s bipartisan, it’s how you negotiate, and it’s win-win. These branches of government can work, have worked, and will work again, but it simply boils down to what’s right and ethical for the majority – and the businesses of America that need to be spending on growth and job creation, that need certainty in the market place, and are willing to balance the playing field for their employees with big growth ladders within the company to succeed.
Imagine if we put some of those trillions into the public school system… I think the time to stop playing politics and pandering to minority reasoning is over. It has to be, or why even vote in the midterms or the next Presidential election?
Everyone should have an interview escape plan
(BUSINESS NEWS) A job interview should be a place to ask about qualifications but sometimes things can go south – here’s how to escape when they do.
“So, why did you move from Utah to Austin?” the interviewer asked over the phone.
The question felt a little out of place in the job interview, but I gave my standard answer about wanting a fresh scene. I’d just graduated college and was looking to break into the Austin market. But the interviewer wasn’t done.
“But why Austin?” he insisted, “There can’t be that many Mormons here.”
My stomach curled. This was a job interview – I’d expected to discuss my qualifications for the position and express my interest in the company. Instead, I began to answer more and more invasive questions about my personal life and religion. The whole ordeal left me very uncomfortable, but because I was young and desperate, I put up with it. In fact, I even went back for a second interview!
At the time, I thought I had to put up with that sort of treatment. Only recently have I realized that the interview was extremely unprofessional and it wasn’t something I should have felt obligated to endure.
And I’m not the only one with a bad interview story. Slate ran an article sharing others’ terrible experiences, which ranged from having their purse inspected to being trapped in a 45 minute presentation! No doubt, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to mistreatment by potential employers.
So, why do we put up with it?
Well, sometimes people just don’t know better. Maybe, like I was, they’re young or inexperienced. In these cases, these sorts of situations seem like they could just be the norm. There’s also the obvious power dynamic: you might need a job, but the potential employers probably don’t need you.
While there might be times you have to grit your teeth and bear it, it’s also worth remembering that a bad interview scenario often means bad working conditions later on down the line. After all, if your employers don’t respect you during the interview stage, it’s likely the disrespect will continue when you’re hired.
Once you’ve identified an interview is bad news, though, how do you walk out? Politely. As tempting as it is to make a scene, you probably don’t want to go burning bridges. Instead, excuse yourself by thanking your interviewers, wishing them well and asserting that you have realized the business wouldn’t be a good fit.
Your time, as well as your comfort, are important! If your gut is telling you something is wrong, it probably is. It isn’t easy, but if a job interview is crossing the line, you’re well within your rights to leave. Better to cut your losses early.
Australia vs Facebook: A conflict of news distribution
(BUSINESS NEWS) Following a contentious battle for news aggregation, Australia works to find agreement with Facebook.
Australia has been locked in a legal war against technology giants Google and Facebook with regard to how news content can be consumed by either entity’s platforms.
At its core, the law states that news content being posted on social media is – in effect – stealing away the ability for news outlets to monetize their delivery and aggregate systems. A news organization may see their content shared on Facebook, which means users no longer have to visit their site to access that information. This harms the ability for news production companies – especially smaller ones – from being able to maintain revenue and profit, while also giving power to corporations such as Facebook by allowing them to capitalize on their substantial infrastructure.
This is a complex subject that can be viewed from a number of angles, but it essentially asks the question of who should be in control of information on a potentially global scale, and how the ability to share such data should be handled when it passes through a variety of mediums and avenues. Put shortly: Australia thinks royalties should be paid to those who supply the news.
Australia has maintained that under the proposed laws, corporations must reach content distribution deals in order to allow news to be spread through – as one example – posts on Facebook. In retaliation, Facebook completely removed the ability for users to post news articles and stories. This in turn led to a proliferation of false and misleading information to fill the void, magnifying the considerable confusion that Australian citizens were confronted with once the change had been made.
“In just a few days, we saw the damage that taking news out can cause,” said Sree Sreenivasan, a professor at the Stony Brook School of Communication and Journalism. “Misinformation and disinformation, already a problem on the platform, rushed to fill the vacuum.”
Facebook’s stance is that it provides value to the publishers because shared news content will drive users to their sites, thereby allowing them to provide advertising and thus leading to revenue.
Australia has been working on this bill since last year, and has said that it is meant to equalize the potential imbalance of content and who can display and benefit from it. This is meant to try and create conditions between publishers and the large technology platforms so that there is a clearer understanding of how payment should be done in exchange for news and information.
Google was initially defiant (threatening to go as far as to shut off their service entirely), but began to make deals recently in order to restore its own access. Facebook has been the strongest holdout, and has shown that it can leverage its considerable audience and reach to force a more amenable deal. Australia has since provided some amendments to give Facebook time to seek similar deals obtained by Google.
One large portion of the law is that Australia is reserving the right to allow final arbitration, which it says would allow a mediator to set prices if no deal could be reached. This might be considered the strongest piece of the law, as it means that Facebook cannot freely exercise its considerable weight with impunity. Facebook’s position is that this allows government interference between private companies.
In the last week – with the new agreements on the table – it’s difficult to say who blinked first. There is also the question of how this might have a ripple effect through the tech industry and between governments who might try to follow suit.
Plant-based milk company Oatly is going public in the U.S.
(BUSINESS NEWS) With the growing popularity of plant-based goods, it is unsurprising to see Oatly going to market, but how much the investment pays off remains to be seen.
On Tuesday, the plant-based milk company, Oatly, filed for an initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S., which could value the company between $5 billion and $10 billion.
The IPO will take place after the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) completes its review process and is subject to market conditions. Additional details of the planned sale were not offered in the confidential filing. The price and number of shares available to purchase are yet to be determined.
The Sweden-based vegan food and drink maker was founded in the 1990s by brothers Rickard and Björn Öste. The company sells its products online and in more than 50,000 retail stores in 20 countries across Europe and Asia. The company entered the U.S. in 2017 and has also partnered with cafes, such as Starbucks.
Last July, Oatly raised $200 million in investment equity. The company is backed by former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and celebrity investors like Oprah Winfrey, Natalie Portman, and Jay-Z. According to PitchBook, the company was valued at around $2 billion at that time.
In 2019, the company generated about $200 million in revenue, which is almost double the year before. Figures for 2020 haven’t been released yet, but the company planned on doubling them again.
Although the numbers haven’t been made public, it isn’t a far-off stretch to say the company could have done just that. Demand for plant-based products has been high. In just the first week of March last year, Nielsen statistics showed the sales of oat milk were up 347.3%.
This rise is due to consumers seeking alternatives to animal products and healthier food options. Already, fast-food chains, casual, and upscale restaurants have entered the plant-based food sector by adding new plant-based items to their menus.
Burger King has its Impossible Whopper with a plant-based patty. Baskin-Robbins offers three vegan ice cream flavors. Starbucks also announced in December that it would now serve oat milk at all its locations nationwide starting in the spring.
Oatly already has a large following. As more health and environment-conscious consumers are willing to seek and pay for these types of products, it seems like their following will only continue to grow.
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