Volatility is a wonderful thing. It not only brings profits to some willing to take risk, it punishes the foolish and teaches them lessons that make them stronger. Some days just aren’t that great in times of volatility, but we keep going because we believe that tomorrow will be better, that we will be wiser the next time, and it reminds us of the values and principles that ground us to reality. That is the natural optimist in each of us, but it also works for companies and countries too.
We are living through one of those funky periods where life seems out of control and surreal. Just when we think things are getting better something completely unexpected like a ‘flash crash’ of 1000 points happens on Wall Street. Just when we think our energy situation is improving because advanced technology has enabled domestic production to go up, BP blows it and mucks up the Gulf of Mexico. Just when the global markets show signs of growth Greece bleeds red ink and threatens to take the rest of the PIIGs or even the Euro with it.
Volatility teaches us lessons the hard way so we remember them.
What are you talking about, you ask?
- EURO RESPONSIBILITY. After months of finger pointing by European leaders that the world’s economic problems were caused by those nasty American bankers and shady credit default swaps and other instruments of financial torture, we learn that ancient Greece has been up to its ancient ways cooking its books to hide its budget deficit borrowing money like Wall Street speculators from European banks eager for the transaction fees. As Bogart said best “I’m shocked to hear that gambling is going on here!” But this time it was the GERMAN sheriff stepping in to break up the mayhem and restore order.
- GHOST OF CALIFORNIA’S CHRISTMAS FUTURE. For California, living near the edge is not something we learned from Greece but our fate could be similar to Athens when judgment day arrives. Those Greeks rioting because their pensions, salaries and spending irresponsibility was purchased with borrowed money look a lot like the California state employees, CALPERS, and the feckless State Legislature.
- ARIZONA, MEXICO, DRUGS AND CONTROL OF THE BORDER. Drug cartels fight for control of markets and supply routes leaving a trail of violence and lawlessness sweeping Mexico. Now that violence spills over the US border but the Federal Government does little to stop it. Arizona’s Governor is appointed Secretary of Homeland Security and its expectations that the Feds will help are raised then dashed when nothing happens. After years of writing letters to Republican Feds, Secretary Napolitano now ignores the same plaintive letters from her successor as Governor. The parties switched places but the results are the same—NOTHING! So Arizona ups the ante by adopting SB1070—a virtual mirror of Federal law except it prohibits racial profiling (something not prohibited in Federal law) in an effort to get the Feds to act. President Obama then accuses Arizona of racial profiling intentions. President Calderon correctly points out that drugs are a problem because of US drug demand. While he disses Arizona for SB1070 in a state visit Mexico’s own immigration law is much more onerous than the Arizona law. Mexico depends upon the remittances from Mexicans working in the US to family back home to help prop up its failing economy. There are immigration issues which must be addressed, but this is political malfeasance where both Democrats and Republicans seek to use a divisive issue to score political points. Shame on both of them!
- A POX ON BOTH PARTIES! Republicans hope for an election bloodletting as Americans recoil from the stunning overreach of Democrats misreading their mandate and misusing the recession and economic volatility to impose a program of deficits spending, vast intrusions into business and daily life, and a blitzkrieg of legislation with little transparency hoping to enact their agenda before midterm elections. But as voters it seems like we just kicked out the Republicans for the same reasons—they forgot who they work for! Now we are unsure that returning them to majorities will be much of an improvement.
- CHANGE WE DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYMORE. The president’s popularity was born of Americans joy at his election as a symbol to the world of our redemption from discrimination past and our belief in the principles of the founders that “all men are created equal” for the future. But the celebration has turned moody feeling deceived that this change is not really what we expected. Americans see little difference between the Democrats overreach in power today rewarding their friends and the Republicans overreach in power yesterday doing the same. Sometimes those friends are the same bankers, unions and lobbyists pouring money into the political accounts of politicians to gain favor. The Tea Party movement is a powerful and terrifying symbol of American dedication to its Constitutional values for our political class and due notice that the revenge of the voters will be exacted on both parties before it runs its course.
So why am I optimistic?
The genius of America has always been our ability to adapt to change and reinvent ourselves to take advantage of opportunities presented. The volatility and economic shock we have experienced combined with the political wake-up call we are experiencing now are the best evidence of that American renewal process at work today.
The midterm elections will punish incumbents in both parties. But we hope it will bring in new blood with a deeper commitment to the values we seek to advance and less partisanship. We have learned as voters that we get better results in Congress when both parties fear us. Giving big majorities to either party rarely works out well for us so we need to keep them evenly balanced and have good “adult supervision” from our president to set a wise course.
So far Obama is not winning any ‘Rookie of the Year’ awards but we still hope he can turn things around. But as insurance we are likely to take away his majority in at least one house of Congress this November. And if his performance does not improve we may not renew his contract in 2012.
Volatility separates those with a future from those with just a past.
The difference between America and Greece is while we both celebrate our past, America lives into its future. Our manifest destiny was reinvented from a quest for control of our continent to a quest to project our values of liberty, competitive markets and the rule of law into a world that craves each.
We won the cold war and now are completing the circle of the end of that long struggle. Had America as the sole superpower after the Cold War sought to preserve its hegemony we would not have seen the rise of China as a great economic power, the integration of Europe, the natural spread of democracy and thirst for freedom all celebrated as global progress. But progress also brings problems we now share with a more integrated world including the struggle to deal with Islamic terrorism, bad boy countries in the continental neighborhoods that must be policed, and the unintended consequences of global markets and trade. But that interdependence is also strength since the consequence of not working together is worse than the price of compromise.
The world still needs American leadership but what it wants is American resolve to live into its core values and act predictably to advance them. The world worries when America’s President apologizes for America’s values or advancing America’s self interest. In a choice between having the world love us and having them respect us take the latter every time.
When we live into our American values we set the global compass to true north and enable others to act in their self interest in ways that are either deliberately in concert with our own or—if they feel daring opposed to them. If America wimps out and lets such challenges pass we only invite more dangerous behaviors. But when we stand up for our values—and for our friends and allies—we don’t need to apologize for our behavior.
Volatility is a wonderful thing because it separates the brave from the bullies.
The best way to deal with bullies has always been to confront them face to face and expose them for what they are. Bravery is learned from experience and is born of self confidence and values that are stronger than the fears we face.
That is why I have faith in America’s future! But I am still going to enjoy kicking both Democrat and Republican butts this election. I am not a Libertarian like Rand Paul but he said it for all of us election night in Kentucky:
“We are coming to take back out country!”
You knew this was going to happen didn’t you?
Arizona’s new immigration law is giving politicians here in California and elsewhere opportunities to grandstand for the home crowd. Los Angeles, San Francisco and others have called for boycotts of Arizona business to express their outrage.
The only problem with boycotts is that it can work both ways. So imagine the fun the folks in Arizona are having today when one of their elected state public service commissioners, Gary Pierce reminded Los Angeles that “a boycott war is bad for both sides, and said he would ‘be happy to encourage Arizona utilities to renegotiate your power agreements’ to end the electricity flowing to Los Angeles.”
Remember the old joke about people in glass houses should know better than to throw stones? Well, California is the largest importer of energy of all the states. California imports more than 20% of its electric power. 
Los Angeles has wrapped itself in the green energy flag but Commissioner Pierce told the Washington Times that Los Angeles Department of Water and Power contracts with the Salt River Project, an Arizona public power agency, to take 25% of the output from its Navaho coal plant and it also owns a part of another coal plant in Utah, and imports hydropower from Oregon and Washington State and British Columbia. He said he would be happy to help Los Angeles get out of those contracts so Arizona can sell the power to someone who values it.
California’s largest investor owned utilities are working overtime to add more solar power to meet there renewable portfolio standards and guess what—its hot and sunny in Arizona and they have a lot of solar power headed for the California power market—or not if the boycott works both ways.
Los Angeles replies that Arizona cannot shut off LA’s power because that would destabilize the grid. To which Arizona replies that LA seems to have no problem destabilizing Arizona’s economy with its boycott –so they can’t have it both ways.
San Francisco, Los Angeles and others should be careful throwing boycott stones since they all engage in behaviors that don’t always comport with the values of the rest of the country. A tourist boycott of LA or San Francisco would hurt them a lot more than this dustup is likely to hurt Arizona.
And since here in California we don’t allow the building of either coal power plants or nuclear power plants anymore we need that imported power to keep the lights on. While we have plenty of sunshine in the Mohave Desert we restrict solar projects there because the tortoise and desert rats like the sunshine so our senators have worked to put much of it off-limits to solar projects. Arizona solar is looking better and better. We do have a lot of wind but capturing it for something useful at City Hall in LA and San Francisco or in Sacramento has not yet passed the California Environmental Quality Act review and besides it is not reliable.
This is great political sport and I am sure enjoying this public urination contest between the LA Mayor and the Arizona Corporation Commission, but boycotts are childish political theater not real policy leadership. It is one reason why the public is cynical about our political class.
That was the question that Mark Cuban—yes THAT mark Cuban was writing about when I opened my Seeking Alpha alert this morning in my email. It is a well written and gets right to the heart of the current problem in the financial markets. I highly recommend it to you so read it.
That there is volatility in the financial markets is not new news. That technology enables speed and efficiency in executing trades is good news. That the two conspire with all the unintended consequences we fear should be enough to provide a warning to all that we need clear rules for investing and different rules, as Mark Cuban suggests, for trading to make sure everyone knows which is which in any transaction.
The trade press reported recently that JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman (GS) reported a loss-free first quarter for their trading units, JPM averaged a daily profit of $118M and GS earned $25M daily profit. But the profits just paint a target on the backs of these firms and encourage the Administration and Congress to continue funding their insatiable appetites for spending with bank taxes knowing that even proposing such taxes is sufficient to reap HUGE political contributions.
How is it possible that these big firms have honed the technology to such precision that while the rest of us sweat through daily market volatility they score a perfect game every time the umpire yells ‘play ball’?
Don’t get me wrong! I am not one of those redistribute the wealth disciples, but I do think we need to revisit the rules of the road for investing, trading and other financial lines of business to restore transparency and confidence in the markets. But my instincts tell me we’ll be better off waiting until after the mid-term elections to tackle that problem.
The threat of cyber attacks are the real worry about last week’s market meltdown.
Last week in the span of just a few minutes the stock market fell by almost 1000 points. This breathtaking bungee jump is still being investigated but the most likely public explanation is that a trading mistake was compounded exponentially by the automatic trading programs used on the Street.
Forbes published a subsequent story providing more detail on the matter and a useful discussion of circuit breakers that could have stopped this freefall until “humans” had time to intervene.
I am certainly no expert on financial market operations. If I was I would not have such a big hole in my own portfolio I am slowly climbing out of as the markets recover from recession.
But I do know—or rather believe that the US financial markets seem unreasonably vulnerable to cyber attacks that could trigger the same freefall repeatedly unless the market has some rules and circuit breaking programs to prevent it.
This incident may be a trading mistake but it is also a HUGE wake-up call that this situation needs immediate attention to plug this security leak.
As we approach midyear, 2010 is turning out to be both a good year and a bad year for the clean energy crowd. There is soul searching, consternation and inspiration taking place all at once around the world today as the global aspirations for the clean energy economy and a massive response to fears of climate change confront the realities of the great recession, climategate, looming deficits and dreaded inflation.
The world is emerging from the great recession taking stock of the impacts and dealing with the aftermath. In that context, the Pew Charitable Trusts released its report on the clean energy economy as a follow-up to the recent meeting of the G-20 leaders. You can find it here.
Once you get past the political correctness, pandering and the “America is falling behind” spin because we did not pass cap and trade, sign off on COP15 or apologize enough for other sins, it isn’t a bad read.
I would highlight the following points from the report:
- Global Clean Energy Economy is Growing. Clean energy investments in G-20 nations grew 230% from 2005 to 2009. Despite a retreat of 6.6% during the worst of the recession, there are $162 billion in continued investment in 2009 and it is expected to grow in 2010 by $200 billion.
- Despite COP15 Cop-out, BRIC Countries Stepped Up Clean Energy Spending except for Russia (does that make it the BIC countries?) signaling durability for the clean energy economy.
- USA led the world in renewable energy capacity at 53.4 GW, but Pew calls this falling behind the faster pace set by China, Germany, Spain and India. It conveniently fails to mention that China is tired of being beaten up for building fossil plants and its massive pollution, sees a huge export market for PV panels and wind turbines, and was vacuuming up the feed in tariff subsidies from Spain and Germany until the latter pulled the plug and cratered their own clean energy market growth which proved unsustainable without the subsidies.
- China overtakes the US in installed renewable capacity in 2010 which Pew again spins as America falling behind. Instead America’s RPS policies, tax credits and renewable investment supports are bringing America to the brink of achieving the original 20% RPS goals in many states.
- Wind is a mainstream resource in every market and solar is near mainstream as prices fall and installed capacity grows. America benefits from China driving down the price of wind turbines and PV panels to grid parity levels even if it does cause accelerated consolidation in the clean energy segment. China and the entire world benefit if expanding clean energy production in China grows its market share of renewable energy capacity—a win-win not a win-lose.
My biggest gripe with the Pew report is its pandering to the G-20 by denigrating the US. Look at page 13, for example, in the section entitled Renewable Capacity Growing Worldwide in which Pew states that the US led the world in installed capacity for wind, solar, geothermal and biomass but risks falling behind in market share growth as other countries pick up the pace. It then refers again to Spain and Germany as if they are models to emulate with their heavy, unsustainable subsidies that imploded in a FiT of economic unreality.
Celebrate Competitive Clean Energy Markets
From my vantage point, the US should celebrate the growth in clean energy investment and renewable energy market share in other countries around other world as validation that the US investment and leadership in making a market for clean energy, nurturing that market but forcing it to be economic and sustainable is a better model than the socialized approach used in Germany and Spain, for example.
So what does this rant have to do with Main Street you ask?
Read the recent story in the Sacramento Bee about how vineyards in Napa Valley and farmers in the great Central Valley of California are adapting to this clean energy economy. Deprived of enough water to grow their crops by court decisions, environmental restrictions and a disinterested (except in election years) Federal Government some are turning to harvesting energy from their land to stay in business.
Mark Glover’s story in the Bee May 1st is a case in point. The Sutter Basin Growers Cooperative, made up of 125 Northern California rice and bean growers recently dedicated a five acre solar farm of 11,922 PV modules near Sacramento. The 864kw plant has been in service since March and powers rice and bean dryers during the co-op’s peak harvest season and the peak power season too from September to November and net meters its energy back to the utility grid when not being used by the farmers. It is part of a strategy to reduce the cost of operations. That it also helps the environment is good news, but the more important goal is to help the farmers survive. The project is expected to cut the farms’ energy costs 80 percent, or $226,615 the first year.
The $4.5 million project cost was defrayed by state and federal solar tax incentives and other utility credits. Sutter Basin Coop financed the project through a lease from the Farm Credit System, with an option to purchase it outright after 10 years. This project is one of about a dozen agriculture-related solar projects installed in the Central Valley in recent years, according to Glover’s story.
America’s Main Street clean energy story is about the bottom line
Germany and Spain bought market share by heavy subsidies and feed in tariffs that were not sustainable. China used those subsidies to undermine the German and Spanish policy by vacuuming up the subsidies to buy cheaper wind turbines and PV panels instead of the work going to German and Spanish companies as the government expected.
Yes, we have some of that here too. Remember Senator Schumer of New York wailing that the Federal Stimulus money for renewables was being used to buy cheaper Chinese turbines and panels? Schumer’s union friends demanded a “buy American” policy quid pro quo but that violates virtually every trade deal we have ever signed. China is growing market share largely because its command and control economy enables it to make decisions quickly and execute them for competitive advantage. This is useful but not always lasting.
America’s sustainable defense in the global clean energy economy is competitiveness.
When deals make sense at the bottom line instead of the political contributions line they are sustainable. And guess what else the Pew report failed to mention?
America is the hottest market in the world AGAIN for clean energy investment. Why? Because our markets are open, our business is transparent, corruption is low, the contracts are safe and enforceable, and the deals work because they are sanity checked every day, every quarter, every year at the bottom line by investors.
Now that’s what I call sustainability!
It has been a week of drama and politics, of emotion and reaction, of hype and hysteria about the issues of the steady stream of people seeking to come to America. The fears of Arizona and other border states are real from bearing the brunt of the influx and the increasing problems of crime, drug cartel violence and the fear of the insecurity of the border which Americans rightly expect should protect us.
The reaction to those fears has sharpened because this is an election year and the illegal immigration issue is being used by both Democrats and Republicans seeking to have it both ways appealing to our insecurities by talking tough while appealing to the growing Hispanic voting block to join the party.
As I sat in church today, the lesson appointed was from The Acts of the Apostles, 11:1-18, spoke to me about this immigration issue we face. It tells the story of the Apostles traveling in Judea when Peter invites some Gentiles to eat with him. This was a scandal because the Jews regarded the Gentiles as “unclean” and the meal served was not kosher and thus also unclean. Peter was berated for such behavior—“why did you eat with them!”
Peter tells them that he saw a vision and a voice telling him to eat with the Gentiles and accept them as fellow believers. Peter said he protested saying he had never eaten unclean food with unclean people. But the voice did not accept this and told Peter “what God has made clean, you must not call profane.” This happened three times until Peter realized it was the Holy Spirit telling him to do as he was told.
Then three men came upon Peter and the voice of the Holy Spirit told him to go with them to the house of a Roman Centurion, a Gentile, and to “make no distinction between them and us.” The Centurion told Peter that an angel had been sent from God telling him to seek out Peter who would give him a message from God “by which your entire household will be saved.” The Centurion said as the voice spoke to him the Holy Spirit descended upon him—just as it had done to Peter and the Apostles themselves. It said, “John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Peter told the crowd that if God had given the Gentiles the same gift of grace that He had given the Apostles who were they to reject them.
- So how many nations of this world have the problem of people “breaking into the country” seeing it as a place of safety, of opportunity, of truth, of justice and hope for a better future for themselves and their children?
- So how many nations can truly claim that they are a melting pot of people of every nation, every faith, every language, every race and color all assimilated and made one by the American experience?
- What other nation celebrates the rule of law, lives into its Constitution and its Bill of Rights as profound and celebrated as the Laws of Moses, and declares for all in the same words as our Founders that all men and women are created equal in this land of the People, by the People and for the People?
America has an immigration problem because the orderly process of welcoming, processing, integrating and assimilating newcomers is mismanaged by the Federal Government and allowed to fester into a political problem because of the adverse impacts on states and local communities.
The Gift of Immigration
Remember not so long ago, that the high tech companies of America were scrambling for the math, science and other skills needed to produce the products and develop the technology that drives our economy? Our response? We hassled them with onerous H1-B visa requirements depriving America of some of the world’s best minds, many educated in America’s best universities seeking to use those skills to advance our American economy and live the American way of life.
Remember the message of the managers of Social Security and Medicare that the funds are running short of money because today fewer workers are paying into them and the baby boomers are beginning to collect benefits. A growing economy is the only way to change that balance bringing more workers into the workplace.
America has been a magnet for workers from Mexico because the economy of that country is broken and opportunities are limited. Remittances from relatives working in the US and profits from drug demand by Americans sustains the Mexican economy and allows it to avoid facing the economic problems it faces. America bears some responsibility for the Mexican problems because we have enabled them or tolerated them on our borders.
It is time—well past time that both the US and Mexico face these issues head-on. Here is my proposal:
- Secure the Border. Build the fence and staff it appropriately on both sides of the border to enforce it. Those who enter the country illegally would be barred from the guest worker or H1-B skilled worker program for five years.
- Create a Registered Guest Worker Program. Allow non-H1B workers in approved countries that would include Mexico and other countries with whom the US has free trade or open markets agreements to register to be guest workers to legitimize their work status whether they are currently in the US legally or not. These permits would be annually renewed automatically for those currently employed with no criminal record. A guest worker who works in America for five years with no criminal record would automatically be eligible for a green card and fast track to citizenship.
- Make America a Magnet for the Skilled Workforce of the Future. Use the H1-B visa application process to define the skills needed by America’s businesses and streamline the process of granting such visas so that a decision is made within a reasonable 30 to 90 days. A H1-B worker who works in America for five years with no criminal record would automatically get a green card and fast track to citizenship.
- Citizenship Process. Make the process of becoming a citizen a national experience by authorizing community colleges, colleges and universities to offer programs resulting in preparation, testing and qualification for citizenship. Completion of such a program would lead to an automatic path to citizenship for those with no criminal background or not on a security restricted list.
- American-Mexico Economic Development Strategy. The US and Mexico should engage in discussions leading to a strategy to promote economic growth and diversification to make Mexico an attractive place for business. Mexico should its revisit its restrictions on investment in its energy industry and other parts of its economy in an effort to jump start its economic growth.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame with conquering limbs astride from land to land; here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.
From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. “Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she with silent lips.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” —-Emma Lazarus
The oil rig explosion and resulting spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a mess no one needs, and if it turns out it could have been prevented no one should tolerate. A worse disaster, however, would be allowing this incident to derail America’s economic recovery and its energy future.
The events of the oil spill are moving too fast to yet make sense of what happened while action is being focused to stop the leak and clean up the mess. What we read in the press is part speculation, part rant and part reporting.
What we know factually is that the oil rig exploded, the safety shut off valves which were supposed to close the spigot on the oil either did not work or were not there. We know that this oil mess is now going onshore and threatening the wildlife, environment, and economy of the Gulf Coast. We also know that this has not happened before or often despite thousands of wells and rigs in the GOM—for that we should be grateful and also encouraged.
We know that President Obama who just recently defied his base and spoke in favor of expanded offshore drilling now is covered in a sticky political and public relations mess as a result of this spill. Now there are ugly reports surfacing pointing fingers at BP and the Government for not responding fast enough to mitigate the damage and making comparisons to the Katrina response or the Exxon Valdez spill.
Congress, never wanting to waste a crisis opportunity for headline grabbing, grandstanding and scoundrel thrashing, has called a hearing on the spill for early May. Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was dispatching a team of investigators and lawyers to the scene to find someone to hang and prepare the way for the army of trial lawyers about to descend on the region.
We need leadership now to clean up this mess!
The difference between politicians and leaders is the latter keep us focused on the desired end result—on achieving the articulated goal and cheer us on to achieve it.
Imagine the power of President Kennedy saying to a disbelieving nation in 1961 that “before this decade is done we will send a man to the moon and bring him home safely. We will do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard!”
Politicians, on the other hand, distract us with vilification and vitriol that slows down clean up of messes, discourages investment and responsible risk taking needed in our economic life to grow our country and live into its potential, and dispirit us when we most need to be lifted up. Do you think President Obama’s trip last week to New York to grandstand on Wall Street while Congress hauled the leaders of Goldman Sachs to the dock for a flogging will do anything to clean up the financial mess left over from the crisis?
Fortunately, America is strong enough to weather the crises!
The good news is it will take more—much more, than a recession, a big oil spill, or an over-reaching government to tank the American economy or our spirit. We will clean up the mess on Wall Street and in the GOM! We will learn from the experience, fix the things that went wrong with remedies that do more good than harm to the patient.
The other good news is that while our politicians are ranting and over-reaching in the here and now, the American people still believe in and are still focused on living into the American dream and thus the long term goal of the prosperous pursuit of happiness for ourselves and our posterity in markets as free and competitive as we can tolerate.
So I’m going to end this rant with some “hopey, changey” things you can believe in:
- North Dakota has 2 billion barrels of onshore unconventional oil and gas—much more than expected according to the latest report from the North Dakota Industrial Commission. Read about here and be encouraged : http://www.grandforksherald.com/event/article/id/159626/.
- ARPA-E invests in President Kennedy’s Vision by its focus on transformational technologies and primary research not because they are easy but because they are hard. Read about it here http://arpa-e.energy.gov/NewsMedia/News/tabid/83/vw/1/ItemID/21/Default.aspx
- Honolulu is creating a District Cooling Project using cold ocean water to displace fossil fuels for A/C saving tons of emissions and reducing the need for 14 MW of power generation all at an amazingly affordable estimated cost of $245 million without a mention in the story about federal stimulus money, earmarks or grants. Read about this project here: http://honoluluswac.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=20
So turn off your TV and quit listening to ranting politicians distracting us from our dreams and discouraging us from using our imagination and resourcefulness and go out there and do something hard for America!