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Monday, May 22, 2017

As a Society, We Have to Start at Some Point in Time

Clutching a hand stitched, torn and dirty play rabbit.  A glassy eyed boy walks through the rubble of Racca, Syria. At first glance, he looks to be five or six years old, maybe. His sweater is buttoned in the middle and holding on tight.  His pants reveal dust, smoke and evokes thoughts of bombs.  He has shoes.  Thank God, he has shoes.

Yes, that is the worst example.  Worse than that is death.  Perhaps, death is a way out.  Nevertheless, the wrath brought upon this young motherless, fatherless boy is courtesy of some who will dine well and sleep fine tonight.

Let's take a detour to IHOP.  I know.  It is one heckuva detour.  I am sitting with a business partner. We are there in advance of a meeting and have ordered breakfast while we discuss the two gentlemen who will meet us in approximately one hour.  The breakfast is good.  I prefer home made breakfast, but IHOP is a good second if you order correctly.

The two gentlemen arrive and join us.  They only want coffee and tell us that they have another meeting to go to after ours.  Seemingly, to portray the urgency and demand of what they have to offer.

The younger man in his mid-forties begins to tell us that they placed another one million dollars toward advertising in addition to other media buys because the product is selling faster than anyone ever expected and giving them sleepless nights to accommodate the demand.  My business partner is slowly being drawn in and increasingly engaging in every step of the so-called off the cuff unpracticed presentation. The same business partner who told me that he does not believe in advertising and even cancelled his subscription to the newspaper.  I sit patiently and quietly listen.

Now is the time to invest.  Get in now while the getting is still good.  My business partner accepts the close.  I look at the balding gentleman and say I am very familiar with the product being sold but it is not for me.  Immediately, his business partner engages me in conversation (nice play) while the younger man leans in to my business partner and produces contractual documents for signing.  I ignore the older gentleman and continue listening and watching this business fishing expedition taking place in an IHOP.

Ok.  Fair enough.  What is the product?  Mortgage Backed Securities.  Just prior to "Too Big to Fail." The rest is history and so is my business partner's mid-six figure investment.  Guess what?  My business partner has never been able to contact the slightly balding gentleman in his mid-forties.  He has been able to contact his elderly business partner only to find out that he has lost touch with the guy as well.

After the two gentlemen left the IHOP, I asked my business partner why did he jump into that investment and why so heavily?  He looked at me like I was totally clueless and asked me why I didn't invest?  I then proceeded to tell him about Mortgage Backed Securities and the Insurance Company that was standing behind them.  I explained the concept and activation.  My business partner told me that many people were now getting a chance to apply for a mortgage and buy homes.
I then explained sub-prime mortgages and foreclosure.  Years later I explained Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns, AIG and TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program).  The story is very engaging henceforth.

So everyone asks, where are you going with this?  What's the point?  They ask all the good cliches that are supposed to make you feel like you are being verbose and should get to the point a bit quicker.

Here is the point.  When are we going to stop taking advantage of people?  Whether it be rudeness, harassment, road rage, shoplifting, lying, authorized war, racism, presupposition, name calling, hacking, trolling, malware or mal-anything.  At what point do we start helping people.

From the alpha to the omega, we have to stop taking advantage of people and start helping.

As a society, we have to start at some point in time.

Mark Andrew Zwartynski
Markie Z
@markandrewz

Monday, April 24, 2017

Political Support and Resistance

An outside of the box analogy:
"In technical analysissupport and resistance is a concept that the movement of the price of a security will tend to stop and reverse at certain predetermined price levels." *
So one writes algorithms to be able to make speed of light buy and sell transactions for financial profit based on the percentage of probability of how one action responds to another action.  Hey, thereby causing a reaction!

Robert Cialdini in his must read book on persuasion titled, "Influence," describes paradigm shifts within a baseball game.  Ever sit at a game or in front of the screen during the Super Bowl or a March Madness basketball game and see the momentum swing from one team to another team's favor?
I have.
Support - Unselfish Team Play
Resistance - Defensive Play
Politics.  Now it gets interesting.  Or, is one entering the Emerald Forest filled with smoke and mirrors? 
I think, yes.
All the political junkies, the vocal and the silent, develop thoughts, rumors, muse leaks, report news and now fake news.  Reporters struggle for the facts and get "alternative" facts.
Now a curveball comes one's way.  Not so easy to hit that pitch in the Emerald Forest filled with smoke and mirrors.  A man executes a man in Cleveland, OH, films it and uploads it onto Facebook.  No defense.  Nationwide search ensues with unbelievable support and team work.  McDonald's employee in Erie, PA holds back the drive through french fry order and calls the cops.  Chase begins and the murderer pulls out a pistol and unloads a bullet to his brain.  He is dead.  Problem solved?  Not quite. Why did he do all this?  And, why on Easter Sunday?  Many will surmise.  Mental Illness? Religious Statement?  Spousal problems?  Financial woes?  Don't know.  He decided to fire a gun and say nothing. Yes, trouble with the curve, Dr. Eastwood.  
Next pitch.
Fastball, slider, off-speed, knuckleball?

House of Representatives
Parties: Republican: 241; Democrat: 194; Independent: 0
Gender: Men: 248; Women: 83
Race: White: 339; Black: 46; Hispanic: 33; Asian: 10; Other: 3
Senate
Parties: Republican: 52; Democrat: 46; Independent: 2
Gender: Men: 78; Women: 21
Race: White: 90; Black: 3; Hispanic: 4; Asian: 3

Political Support: Republicans (questionable - many caucuses)
Political Resistance: Democrats

In 2012, the republicans won the majority in both the House and the Senate.  In 2016, the republicans won the presidency with Donald Trump and thereby the administrative branch.  The republicans refused to meet with President Barack Obama's Supreme Court appointee, Merrick Garland.  After intense questioning and a long filibuster by democrats, republicans were able to move the vote forward with Vice President Mike Pence presiding over the nomination of Neil Gorsuch.  Although the Supreme Court is established by the Constitution of the United States of America to be non-partisan, the republicans felt, as well as did the democrats, that they were able to stack the court in republican favor after the death of Chief Justice Antonin Scalia.
Can political support and resistance ever find a middle ground?  Will we, as a nation, be able to sit at a table and bargain for what is best for the people of our country?
Or, is it all going to be dealmaking?  If you want me to give you your number one and number two, then you are going to have to give me your numbers three, four, five, six and seven.
Ever think about what is the most socialistic endeavor in our country?  It is professional sports.  Simply look at the collective bargaining agreements.  Don't just look at the agreements for the players.  Yes, an athlete has a limited amount of time to play their given sport before their body gives out.  Even the referees can only withstand so much physical wear and tear.  But what about the coaches, the assistant coaches and general managers.  In the NBA, there are no more "scouts."  They are all assistant coaches. Why, because after four years with an assistant coach title you become fully vested in the coaches pension and health plan.  The executives and front office workers do not get a pension and rather have to rely on a 401k or the ability to climb up the ladder and make enough money as quickly or hang in there as long as possible to have that nest egg for a rainy day.  if you are lucky and work your way up to reporting to the owner you may even get a percentage of the team.
You get pension based on a few systems and the amount you were paid if you stay in the Army for 20 years.  It used to be that you worked for a company for twenty years and you received a pension.  But now you get a 401k.
The sports industry is the most socialistic bargain available in the United States.  Consider all the public/private partnerships for arenas and stadiums.  One high school receives almost $2.20 per every $100 of the assessed value of a persons home.  Whether you have kids going to school or not.  Are the owners of professional teams and players Socialists?  No, I believe they are democrat and republican and swing from the left to the right and all points in between.
It begs the question, who and what are we?  Maybe, we are what is good for us at the moment and what we can legally (or illegally) get away with.   Forget about putting a label on it.

Political support and resistance.  it reminds me of the time a man told me that you could lock two people in a room overnight and in the morning they will come out with three political parties:

  • Yours;
  • Mine; and,
  • Ours.

@markandrewz  Markie Z Letter "The Vibe" #everythingmatters

Amiri, M.; Zandieh, M.; Vahdani, B.; Soltani, R.; Roshanaei, V. (January 2010). 

























Saturday, March 11, 2017

Markie Z Letter - "The Vibe" @markandrewz: Public Action and Political Action or Nothing

Markie Z Letter - "The Vibe" @markandrewz: Public Action and Political Action or Nothing: This morning "The Vibe" felt the choices people have at hand.  Some contemplate accepting things as they exist and some acce...

Public Action and Political Action or Nothing





This morning "The Vibe" felt the choices people have at hand.  Some contemplate accepting things as they exist and some accept the responsibility to change things.  Many ask for the wisdom to know the difference.   They may be the wisest of all.

Many undertake public action which is the choice that pertains to the capacity in which one comes into contact with the community.  Others undertake political action which is designed to attain a purpose by the use of political power or by activity in political channels.

"The Vibe" is obviously getting strong signals from activity in political channels from across the globe.  Healthcare, immigration, wiretapping, deals with foreign countries and their agents, business or political.  That is not to mention, slurs, name calling and all sorts of demeaning going around. We have non-answers to questions and alternative facts.  Selective memory and skillful neglect. These are interesting terms to say the least.   But, there are a gazillion more in the shadows of the grey area within the emerald forest filled with smoke and mirrors.

We chose to vote.  "The Vibe" felt a vibe and voted.  Every single person got that one right because there is no wrong.  It is our inalienable right provided we are eighteen years old.  That also means we carry a responsibility for those that are younger, whether they are our family members or not.

We chose representatives.  These are the people that decided to take public action and undertake political action to attain a purpose on their and our behalf.  Oftentimes, it is a political party agenda.  one pulls the "straight line" ticket.  It is usually based on one tenet, issue or principal.  I will bet that many people vote in that manner.

Making decisions in that manner are not wrong.  They are based on a lot of faith.  Faith in our representatives at every level of governance.  Yes, it does affect our prices for food, gas, transportation, healthcare, lifestyle, safety, first responder emergency assistance.  "The Vibe" has to give a major shout out to the first responders, the military, the intelligence services, the educators and all the good people in our country.  Most of us always want to help.  It could be a tornado in Oklahoma, a wildfire in California, a blizzard in the mid-west, a hurricane upon our shores, or any other unforeseen calamity.

Dear Representatives:
 We will help you help us.  It is truly not the other way around.  But remember, we have faith in you.  All we ask for is good candid communication, truth, honesty, integrity and that you remember us.

"The Vibe:" There is a lot of faith going on from a lot of people.  It doesn't matter what political side(s) your on.  Remember us...

Markie Z
@markandrewz
Mark Andrew Zwartynski
03.11.2017
'44 Uprising Productions











Thursday, February 16, 2017

Picking Up "The Vibe" - Markie Z Guest Blogger - Neil Wilson: Are The Days Of The Olympics Numbered?

Markie Z "The Vibe" Guest Blogger

NEIL WILSON: Are the days of the Olympics numbered?



THE NEIL WILSON COLUMN / An exclusive, authoritative series from Sports Features Communications
(SFC) There can be few families who have invested more of their lives in Olympic sport than the German brothers Robert and Christoph Harting.
Robert, the elder by six years, throws a discus so well that he was Olympic, world and European champion at the same time. He competed at three successive Olympic Games, winning his gold in 2012.
His brother ensured that the Olympic title remained in the family four years later in Rio when he won gold.
So it might have come as something of a surprise that young Christoph predicted this month that the Olympic will "slowly die" by 2040 unless his compatriot Thomas Bach resigns as president of the International Olympic Committee.
Except, like gold medals, that opinion runs in the family. Last year Robert was even more dismissive of Bach when he refused to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics because of its systemic doping. Bach, he said, "is part of the doping system, not the anti-doping system."
Christoph's latest prediction of slow death for the Games coincided with yet another European city deciding by referendum that it wanted nothing to do with hosting a Games. Sixty per cent in the Swiss canton of Graubuenden, which contains the cities of Davos and St Moritz, were opposed to a bid for the 2026 Winter Games, up several points from a similar vote taken four years ago on a bid for 2022.
They follow the citizens and administrations of Hamburg, Krakow, Munich, Oslo, Stockholm and Rome in pulling their bids, either after a public referendum or obvious public apathy. Just two cities remained for the 2022 vote, just three now for 2024. Now Europe is cold-shouldering another winter Games.
So Christoph Harting may be right in his assessment of the future but not necessarily in his understanding of the reason. Public perception of widespread doping in Olympic sport is probably the least of the reasons for the present negativity surrounding hosting a Games.
After all, nobody in Switzerland is any less excited these days when a Swiss stands on the podium when Olympic medals are awarded. Doping seems not to have turned off the public. The more likely motivation for its rejection is a collective failure of its citizenry to see any good reason for hosting an Olympic Games.
There have been pressing reasons in the past. Regeneration of an area is one that applied to Barcelona and London. Re-establishment in the global community was another. Think Tokyo and Seoul. Politics was another for Moscow and Beijing. The publicity value was often a reason for Winter Games bids.
St Moritz and Davos are rich communities. They could afford an Olympic Games. But why would they want one?  They do not need regeneration. They are well endowed with hotels and sports facilities. They do not need publicity to attract tourists. They are world renowned. Try getting a hotel room there in the winter season. A Winter Olympics would interfere with the existing tourist market.
One Swiss regions remains interested in bidding for 2026 - Sion. It bid for the 2006 Games and lost to Turin. Its citizens have been offered a referendum next year on a second bid and expects a deep well of enthusiasm.
The five rings remain of value to multi-national companies for branding but for the citizens of the world less so. Bach's resignation would not solve that problem but it is time he came up with some answers. Or young Harting may be proved right.
** NEIL WILSON reported his first Olympic Games in Munich in 1972. He has since covered another nine summer and nine winter Olympics for various newspapers, including The Independent and the Daily Mail with whom he has worked for the last 19 years as Athletics and Olympic correspondent. He was Britain's Sports Journalist of the Year in 1984 and is the author of seven books.


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Music Industry & the 2016 Presidential Election


First in a Series

It is the Saturday after Thanksgiving 2016.  Families have now come together to discuss the results of the 2016 Unites States of America Presidential Election.  Although their may be some "Houses Divided," the United States has a Republican President Elect and a majority in both houses of Congress.  Nonetheless, we have a Congress and Country divided.  Businessman President-Elect Donald Trump won the majority of electoral votes 290 to Former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who garnered 232.  Secretary Clinton won the popular vote over Businessman Donald Trump 64.4 million to 62.3 million.  2.1 million people more voted for Clinton over Trump.

Many music artists supported Secretary Clinton over Donald Trump.  General wisdom speaks of artists wishing more work needs to be done for homeless, hungry, peace, climate, wage inequality, freedom of speech and many social justice issues relative to race, gender, policing, trade, government spending to name just a few.  Many argue that all Americans essentially want the same actions taken.
It is just a matter of how to get there and how to get it done.

The music industry is going through its own discovery.  A journey that changes minute by minute with the advent of new technologies and the deliverability of content to the market consumer.  Spotify appears to be the leader in delivering musical content to the consumer for free or for a monthly subscription.  The company is outpacing its competition with data collection used to provide what the consumer wants.

The big winner today in digital advertising is the advent of interactive delivery of content to the consumer as opposed to the consumer searching for what they want.  At least, consumers now have both options to their avail.  Data allows Spotify to make suggestions to the consumer via information gathered over time (short and long) and also interacting by allowing the consumer to give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.  Same feature is provided by Netflix and others.  Some people are now migrating away from conventional cable and satellite content deliverability to Netflix and You Tube as their entertainment providers.

Now that the Thanksgiving 2016 dinner conversation has concluded and people are ruminating over their own set of feelings and the reality of the state of the nation, music is still listened and film is still viewed.  The winners?  The winners are the artists who touch the individuals heart and soul through their work.  The individual wins as well.  Technology delivers the art.  Business sets up the rules, payment and deliverability.  How will the new administration, which controls the executive branch, the legislative branch and will have one Supreme Court Justice to appoint immediately, govern the business of of music and art?

Please feel free to provide your comments.  They are graciously appreciated.  Below, please find an article published in Billboard Magazine prior to the election.

All the best until next time,

Markie Z (@markandrewz)


http://markandrewz.blogspot.com/

Better Late Than Never: Artists Finally Weighing In on 2016 Presidential Election
At this point in the past two presidential elections, the roster of A-list artists backing the candidates (okay, mostly President Obama) were like the line-up for the greatest concert never staged: Eminem, Jay Z, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Faith Hill, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Beastie Boys, BeyoncĂ©, the Roots, plus dozens of others in Obama's corner, and Pat Boone, Daddy Yankee, Charlie Daniels, Lee Greenwood, John Rich, Cowboy Troy, Kid Rock and Ted Nugent for Republican candidates John McCain (2008) and/or Mitt Romney (2012). 
But until pretty recently, with a few big-name exceptions, the musical world was much quieter this cycle. Why? It's hard to say, as this election is historic in ways slightly different than 2008's election of the nation's first black president. Faced with the choice between two very unpopular candidates -- one with the potential to be the country's first female commander in chief and the other the first U.S. leader with no military or government experience -- Hollywood has kept it on the DL for the most part.
With less than 50 days to go, though, that began to change over the past few weeks, in large part due to a number of prominent female musicians who've re-iterated their loud and proud support for Clinton. From Barbra Streisand -- who has said #ImWithHer for over a year -- to Katy Perry and Madonna -- who both got naked this week to stand with Clinton and encourage voting -- the former Sec. of State is ringing up some big endorsements. Aside from Katy, Madge and Babs, other musical Hillary supporters include CherLady Gaga, P!nk, Cyndi Lauper, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, Elton John and John Legend.
Clinton's even gotten a thumbs up from Mexican ranchera icon Vicente Fernández -- who can't vote in our election -- but who said, "together, we can," and Los Tigres del Norte, who condemned Trump's insults against Mexican immigrants while endorsing Clinton. Another major artist who won't be in the voting booth but finds it hard to keep his opinions to himself, U2's Bono, recently said he was concerned Trump could "destroy" the very idea of America.
Kesha threw her hat in the ring on Wednesday (Sept. 28) when she came to the defense of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who continued to get fat-shamed by Trump after Clinton brought up her rival's misogynist comments about women in the past during the first presidential debate.
Last month, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi and Jimmy Buffett performed at a private fundraiser for Clinton, while Streisand has taken a number of opportunities this summer to announce @ImWithHer while making fun of Trump and penning a scathing essay for the Huffington Post entitled "Facts Matter." Typically outspoken American rock icon Bruce Springsteen has mostly kept his powder dry this cycle, but recently called Trump a "moron" in Rolling Stone and said he thinks Clinton would be a "very, very good president."  

Girls were talking 2day & Were AFRAID‼️
IF TRUMP IS NOW…..DEMOCRACY IS NEVER
AGAIN‼️THEYWERE TRULY FRIGHTENED ABOUT FUTURE OF THEIR CHILDREN

Trump, on the other hand, has had a good deal less musical co-signs, the most prominent coming from Kid Rock, Wayne Newton, as well as usual suspects Rich, Nugent, Boone and Kenny Rogers. Kiss' loud and proud bassist/singer Gene Simmons was labeled the "Donald Trump of rock" recently by his son, Nick Simmons. 
Las Vegas icon Newton went on Fox News earlier this month and said that if America has "ever needed Donald Trump, it's now." Kid Rock, an avowed Republican, hasn't stumped for the billionaire real estate mogul (though he told Rolling Stone in February that he was "digging" the candidate), but when Clinton made a crack about Rock possibly getting a cabinet position in a Donald White House, the Detroit rapper joked, "I don't care what your politics are, funny is funny!"