Podcast – STAND FOR TRUTH RADIO with guest JOSHUA MACIAS

Please join your host SUSAN KNOWLES with her guest JOSHUA MACIAS on Stand For Truth Radio on Monday, February 27, 2017. Joshua Macias will be speaking about issues important to all Veterans and to all Americans who love our Veterans.

Joshua Macias shares the grand vision for ending Veteran homelessness across the nation. Following his honorable discharge from the Navy, Joshua had the same experience as every transitional Veteran – he was a hardworking veteran with a strong résumé but no job.

Now, as an expert in business systems and Veteran housing, with over four generations of family involved in real estate, Joshua is an experienced and creative housing crisis problem-solver.

In addition to 16 years of grassroots, faith-based, and nonprofit service,  Joshua founded Vets For Trump in 2016 to insure the Veteran Voice was heard. In fighting the homeless housing crisis Joshua’s contributions started by volunteering as a Project Manager with the 2011 Virginia Beach Extreme Home Makeover project.

Continuing as Co-Founder of Veterans Homefront whose team was honored as a key instrument in the 100 day governor challenge in 2014.  This success allowed Virginia recognition to be the only one to reach functional zero in Veteran Homelessness.  Most recently Joshua was honored to be designated as Chairman of the Veterans For Trump Coalition growing with his team the largest Veteran Coalition seen since World War II around a President.

Joshua spends his days speaking to business owners, congressmen and women, cabinet members and their policy makers alike.  Working with the Vets For Trump team he maintains communication with 500,000 grassroots Veterans asking for change in their backyard through Vets-For-Trump.com.  Alongside 2nd District Congressman Scott Taylor Joshua looks to create jobs supporting the DOD as well as our Veteran Communities. As a Bio-Technology innovator Joshua continues on his track for PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology working on projects in B.C.I (Brain Computer Interface).

As a father of three young boys, Joshua believes in modeling philanthropy and has devoted his time to creating housing solutions across the country. He hopes to set an example, for both his sons and others in the community, by establishing a legacy of Veteran housing assistance, Veteran Activism, Technology and Social Integration.

You can read more on his projects and endeavors at www.joshumacias.com or Twitter @JoshuaMacias or FB @JoshuaMaciasTeam

Date: February 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 p.m
Appearance: PODCAST – STAND FOR TRUTH RADIO
Outlet: Stand For Truth Radio
Location: US
Format: Podcast

Goto my contact page for more insight or to engage in business opportunities to support the community.

Qualifying for $1M In Real Estate

“How I Went From $0 Net Worth to Qualifying for $1M in Real Estate Financing in 2.5 Years

by Scott Trench | BiggerPockets.com”

 

By far one of the best written articles on beginner real estate investing! I believe this to be of the utmost importance for all investors getting started in real estate to follow this path. I too followed a similar path in building my portfolio and suggest you do the same! I hope you find motivation and inspiration in this article. –  Joshua

 

“I just talked to a lender that prequalified me for over $1 million in financing. This is a conventional mortgage broker—not a friend, not a family member. This is a loan at the best rates available.
That’s $1 MILLION.

I don’t earn a ridiculously high salary, and I don’t have a tremendous amount of cash.

In this article, I want to talk about a reward that I did not foresee when I started investing in real estate. I want to talk about how I went from a position of approximately $0 in net worth just two and a half years ago to a position in which I am able to single-handedly purchase around a million dollars in real estate, right now, using conventional or even FHA financing.

For the foreseeable future, at least until I screw up badly or the economy collapses, I will have no problem getting access to real estate financing. This is in sharp contrast to most of my white-collar peers, for a reason that I will convey below. Please note that this article is written for investors who aspire to build real estate wealth while working a full-time job, not folks who are more on the “entrepreneurial” side of real estate investing, who fix and flip, rehab, or manage properties full-time.

See, the two things that hold most would-be part-time investors back from investing in real estate are their cash position and their access to financing.

In my opinion, accumulating cash is actually the easy part. I chose to do it by systematically saving my wage income of just under $50,000 per year (yes, after paying taxes on that income), working hard at my job and changing jobs to earn more money over the last few years, and investing passively in index funds. While that may sound hard to some people, the fact of the matter is that pretty much anyone who works a median income job in a city that isn’t LA, SFO, or NYC can give themselves a great shot at saving up the down payment on a rental property in under two to three years. It could take less than one year if they house hack, as I did here in Denver while earning less than $50,000 per year. For example, conventional lenders will typically only lend to first-time investors if the investor can bring 15-25% down (15% on a single family rental or a duplex and 25% on a triplex or quadplex). That’s $45,000-$75,000 in cash on a $300,000 property. That’s a challenge for many people, but not for a big saver with a few years in the workforce.

real-estate-investing-easy

The Big Newbie Investor Issue: Access to Financing

The cash problem is solved simply through consistency and time. Again, it’s not the hard part; the hard part for many people is actually the access to financing. If you are a saver, you will eventually have no problem coming up with the cash to put 15% to 25% down on rentals with conventional financing. The real challenge you might run into is that your income isn’t high enough to qualify you for financing. The challenge is that most lenders won’t lend to folks to create an environment where their financing costs are more than 35% their income.

What does this mean in reality? Consider the following example:

Joey makes $85,000 per year and has $40,000 in lifetime savings outside of his retirement account. His lender tells him that this qualifies him for a maximum mortgage loan of approximately $400,000. The reason he is qualified for that amount, at maximum, is because the debt service, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, on a $400,000 loan is about $2,500 per month, or roughly 35% of his monthly paycheck.

So what does Joey do with this information? Well, he buys a $440,000 primary residence, putting roughly 10% down, and stretches himself to his absolute financial limits to live in the best home he could possibly purchase. Unfortunately, this wipes out his ability to save cash (a huge chunk of his paycheck goes to his mortgage), his current cash position (used for the downpayment), and his ability to get access to future financing (his debt to income ratio is maxed out, and lenders will no longer offer him credit)!

Fast forward a year or so, and Joey now decides that he would like to achieve early financial freedom in part through real estate investing. He goes to his lender, and his lender tells him this:

“I’m sorry, but you will need 15-25% in the form of a down payment AND enough income such that you can cover both your home mortgage AND the rental property’s mortgage. Because you have no history as a landlord, we cannot count any rental income towards your purchase. It may be quite some time before we can offer you a loan for a rental property.”

Joey is in a really bad position to begin investing in real estate. The reality of the situation is this:

If Joey wants to buy a second $400,000 property as a rental, he will need to accumulate $60,000 to $100,000 in cash AND increase his income to $140,000 -$155,000 per year in order to qualify for a loan.

Folks, this is the position that many BiggerPockets readers are starting in! They earn solid salaries, but have little cash accumulated and debts, like a mortgage, that inhibit their ability to borrow. Joey is forced to buy tiny rentals to get started, rentals that will have little impact on his overall financial position and that may not be available or desirable to him, depending on his location. These rentals will produce income and wealth that is insignificant relative to his wage income and are more likely to annoy him than encourage him. Unless Joey has equity in his home and is willing to leverage that to invest, he is a long way away from building significant passive income from real estate.

Related: The Tax Implications You MUST Understand Before House Hacking

The Less Painful Route to Bank-Financed Rentals

But, I, Scott Trench, have avoided this predicament.

How, you ask?

By buying my first home as a house hack.

Unlike our poor friend Joey, I do not have any trouble accumulating cash or getting access to future financing. I’ve saved thousands of dollars per month compared to folks like Joey for years by house hacking and having my tenants cover all of my mortgage. I have passive real estate income. I have cash AND access to financing, all I could want.

When I go to the lender, you know what he tells me?

“Mr. Trench, I see that you have a wage income of $______. This income qualifies you for a mortgage of hundreds of thousands of dollars on its own as an upper-middle-class wage-earner at a respectable corporation.

Additionally, in your case, your current mortgages do not count against this income because the payments, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, are wholly offset by the rents your current properties receive. In fact, because we allow 75% of the gross rents your properties command to count towards your income, your current properties actually increase your ability to borrow.

Let’s add an extra couple hundred thousand dollars to your purchasing power.

Oh, and Mr. Trench, I forgot to mention. Did you know that because you are landlord with two years of experience, verified by your tax returns, that you can actually use the expected rent from a future property to count towards your purchasing power? That’s right, if you buy a property with four units and each unit is estimated to command $1,500 in rent, we can tack on 75% of that rent (or $4,500 in monthly income) to help you qualify for a loan?

Let’s add yet another extra couple hundred thousand dollars to your purchasing power.”

My eyeballs exploded when I saw the amounts that my lender was willing to offer me for my next purchase(s). I can, right now, buy property at well over seven figures in value (using a combination of low-down-payment loans like FHA and 5% down conventional), assuming I house hack (move in and put down 3.5%-5% on one very expensive quadplex and purchase one much less expensive duplex or single family). Of course, I plan to remain conservative and am looking to purchase properties under $600,000 this year—but wow!
life-on-half-income

Financial Freedom the Easy Way

So, what’s the real difference between Joey and me in the eyes of the lender? The difference is I have two years of landlording experience and no debt with service that is not covered, with room to spare by the gross rents of my properties. You reach a real breakthrough point as a part-time investor when you get those first two years of rental history under your belt and are able to qualify for significantly more financing.

I, with my experience as a house hacker landlord, find it very easy to get a loan at a great interest rate. Shockingly easy. Joey will find it extremely difficult. My ability to buy real estate is perpetually increasing and is, at this point, basically limited only to what I can bring to the table in cash. Joey cannot get a loan without another co-signer, unless he can convince a private lender to give him money, likely on unfavorable commercial terms with high rates and origination fees. Joey is limited by both his cash and income. I am not. Joey may never get started and will have to fight very hard to get his business off the ground. I can offer on property worth more than Joey’s house every single year if I like.

The reason for my advantage is entirely due to the fact that I “put in my dues” for two years by house hacking instead of buying a primary residence with my first purchase. Had I not house hacked and used my first large loan to help me generate rental income, I might be in Joey’s position struggling to save and earn more. My first rental purchase would likely be years away and/or a very small property in a less-than-desirable area (unless I was willing to sell my home and start over by house hacking–unlikely if I was settled into my home). I would not believe myself to be “conservative” in looking to purchase property priced as high as $600,000. I would not have the option to purchase property approaching or exceeding seven figures in value.

This is not an argument against buying a nice home. I intend to buy a nice home one day. But that purchase is at least a few years away. I’ll buy the fancy home when my house hacking income can easily cover the mortgage payment. My argument is to delay the purchase of that first home, at least for two years, while one becomes a landlord the easy way, through house hacking. Or, at the very least, buy a home at a price point so conservative that you could easily buy two, and make a second property as a rental.

Related: Am I Missing Something, or Is Real Estate Investing Really Not That Hard?

Get the process started with a rental property that cash flows reasonably before buying a long-term primary residence at the upper bounds of your purchasing power. Put in your first year or two, and watch opportunities multiply in front of you. Do whatever you need to do to buy a solid rental property, large or small, and put yourself in a position where you can use the rent from your current and future purchases to help you out with your next purchase.

Then, when you have passive income, plenty of cash, and a proven track record, buy the nice home if desired.

If you can get started and set yourself up over the next few years such that you can save thousands of dollars per month and use your current and expected future rental income to purchase property, you may find real estate investing to be easy, fun, and automatic rather than something almost unattainable. Too many folks on BiggerPockets are spinning their wheels trying to get into real estate investing because they used up all of their purchasing power on a primary residence. In fact, the only set of circumstances that allows folks who buy their first homes to invest is when they experience a lot of appreciation on that home very quickly. That’s a big gamble to take, and that financial benefit would only be exaggerated if it were a rental property. If you do decide to max out on your first home purchase, you might find that financial freedom through real estate is decades farther away than it needs to be.

Looking to set yourself up for life as early as possible and enjoy time on your terms? Scott Trench’s new book Set for Life, slated for release April 23, 2017, is now available for pre-sale! Whether you’d like to “retire” from wage-paying work, become less dependent on your demanding nine-to-five, or simply spend time doing what you love, Set for Life will give you a plan to get there. This isn’t about saving up a nest egg. It’s not about setting aside money for a “rainy day.” Set for Life is an actionable guide that helps readers build the accessible wealth they need to achieve early financial freedom.”

PETE HEGSETH | VETERAN | MEDIA KNIGHT

DAYS OF THANKSGIVING | EARLY VETERANS VOICES

Pete Hegseth is first a Patriot, Second an OathKeeper, Thirdly a Combat Veteran and fourthly a Media knight who has stood steady through such a tumultuous onslaught against our community over the years.  It is in no small part through his courage to stand against the tide he helped to  lay the groundwork for the Veterans For Trump Coalition to gain such momentum.  Had the Concerned Veterans of America not made it a point to educate, expand and unify the Veteran Vote I personally do not believe that the flame which ignited the nation would have burned so brightly in the beginning of it all.  We all made it our focus and mission to ensure the Veteran Voice was heard across this great nation of ours.  By keeping the Veteran cause at the forefront of the presidential debates we maintained the narrative of America first and her servants in the military community as the heroes they are.  I want to personally say Thank You Pete Hegseth for standing in the gap and holding the line while your reinforcements were on their way! JM

Hegseth Interviews Joshua Macias

Pete Hegseth Interviews Joshua Macias at the Mike Pence event @ Founders Inn.

Pete Hegseth Interviews Joshua Macias at Mike Pence event

Pete Hegseth Interviews Joshua Macias at Mike Pence event

Article By : Pete Hegseth | FOXNEWS

“Today, on November 11, America pauses to thank our veterans for their service to our nation. The freedoms we enjoy in this country—which are the exception to the rule in human history—were literally purchased by men and women of all generations who have courageously worn the uniformed cloth of our country.

We live free because warriors—and then veterans—have selflessly served our nation in dangerous places.

THE FOUR THINGS PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP SHOULD FOCUS ON FIRST

At the very least, make sure to use this Veterans Day to honor and thank a veteran in your life.

Veterans Day is about honoring veterans, not politics. But we also cannot ignore that our nation’s policies impact the way we empower, and care for, our veterans. We have failed our military and veterans too often over the past eight years.

That said, the current state of our country for military members, and our veterans, is disappointing at best, and dangerous at worst.

 

At the Defense Department—the government’s largest department—deep spending cuts, failure to modernize our weapons, and utter strategic drift have created a readiness and morale crisis that makes America far too vulnerable.

At the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA)—the second largest federal department—a waiting list scandal exposed a corrosive, bloated, and unaccountable bureaucracy that is very good at serving itself—but not good at serving veterans.

On both fronts, thankfully, I believe a new era dawns. On the campaign trail, candidate Donald Trump made both rebuilding our military and fixing the VA two of his signature issues.

President-elect Trump is poised to do the same. President-elect Trump has pledged to get rid of the disastrous defense sequester, invest in long-overdue future military technologies, grow the ranks and numbers of ships and aircraft, and repeal stifling rules of engagement that handcuff our troops.

In just a few years, the posture of our military could look much different—ensuring America both deters aggression and can swiftly defeat enemies.

At the VA, President-elect Trump has pledged to “clean house”—an aggressive mandate veterans have been clamoring for. He has vowed to choose an aggressive VA secretary, and empower that leader to swiftly fire VA employees who have failed veterans. This will mean confronting the VA unions, as well as the VA bureaucracy; something Trump has unapologetically said he would do. Moreover, President-elect Trump has vowed to empower veterans to choosetheir healthcare—either from VA facilities or from a private physician. When veterans can choose, then VA must compete and is incentivized to treat veterans like customers, not numbers. It’s about time.

Veterans Day is about honoring veterans, not politics. But we also cannot ignore that our nation’s policies impact the way we empower, and care for, our veterans. We have failed our military and veterans too often over the past eight years.

My sincere believe is that President-elect Trump will muster the courage, leadership, and clarity of purpose to ensure America brings back “peace through strength” with our military posture and the enacts real reform at the VA.

It’s the least we can do for our warfighters.

Pete Hegseth is the former CEO of Concerned Veterans for America and the former executive director of Vets for Freedom. A Fox News contributor, he is an infantry officer in the Army National Guard and has served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay.  He is the author of “In the Arena” and serves on the Advisory Board for United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI).” 

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/11/11/pete-hegseth-life-for-our-veterans-and-our-military-could-be-much-different-soon.html

 

 

 

NY TIMES ARTICLE ON VETS4TRUMP

Michael Verardo earned two Purple Hearts while fighting in Afghanistan. “I think he’s genuine,” Mr. Verardo said of Donald J. Trump. CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

The roster of retired military officers endorsing Hillary Clinton in September glittered with decoration and rank. One former general led the American surge in Anbar, one of the most violent provinces in Iraq. Another commanded American-led allied forces battling the Taliban in Afghanistan. Yet another trained the first Iraqis to combat Islamic insurgents in their own country.

But as Election Day approaches, many veterans are instead turning to Donald J. Trump, a businessman who avoided the Vietnam draft and has boasted of gathering foreign policy wisdom by watching television shows.

Even as other voters abandon Mr. Trump, veterans remain among his most loyal supporters, an unlikely connection forged by the widening gulf they feel from other Americans.

After 15 years at war, many who served in Iraq or Afghanistan are proud of their service but exhausted by its burdens. They distrust the political class that reshaped their lives and are frustrated by how little their fellow citizens seem to understand about their experience.

Perhaps most strikingly, they welcome Mr. Trump’s blunt attacks on America’s entanglements overseas.

“When we jump into wars without having a real plan, things like Vietnam and things like Iraq and Afghanistan happen,” said William Hansen, a former Marine who served two National Guard tours in Iraq. “This is 16 years. This is longer than Vietnam.”

In small military towns in California and North Carolina, veterans of all eras cheer Mr. Trump’s promises to fire officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs. His attacks on political correctness evoke their frustrations with tortured rules of engagement crafted to serve political, not military, ends. In Mr. Trump’s forceful assertion of strength, they find a balm for wounds that left them broken and torn.

“He calls it out,” said Joshua Macias, a former Navy petty officer and fifth-generation veteran who lives in the Tidewater region of Virginia, where he organized a “Veterans for Trump” group last year. “We have intense emotion connected to these wars. The way it was politicized, the way they changed the way we fight in a war setting — it’s horrible how they did that.”

Mr. Trump spoke in July at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Trump leads Hillary Clinton by 19 points among veterans registered to vote, according to a Fox News poll released Oct. 18. CreditTodd Heisler/The New York Times

Now, as battlegrounds in the Middle East smoke and rumble once more, as V.A. wait times creep up instead of down, Mr. Trump’s candidacy — and its resonance among veterans — is helping expose the gulf of culture and class between many Americans and those who fight wars in their name.

There are 22 million living veterans in the United States, and many love or loathe Mr. Trump for the same reasons other Americans do. But polling, interviews with dozens of veterans and those who study their political views indicate a strong preference for Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton. He now leads Mrs. Clinton by 19 points among veterans registered to vote, while trailing her among all voters by three points, according to a Fox News poll released Oct. 18.

Veterans are more likely than other Americans to view Mr. Trump favorably, and less likely to rate Mrs. Clinton positively. In mid-October, 43 percent of veterans expressed a favorable view of him in a Gallup tracking poll, while just 30 percent saw Mrs. Clinton positively.

In interviews with more than three dozen veterans, many praised Mr. Trump for candidly criticizing the costs of war, an issue they see few politicians in either party taking on. And they are unconcerned with how or when he arrived at his positions.

“The Iraq war was a disaster,” said Dustin Stewart, a former Army captain and Iraq veteran. “He is at least not trying to tiptoe around it. And I think some of the other Republicans were afraid of it.”

Hillary Clinton has an 87% chance of winning the presidency.

Growing Military Caste

For decades, Americans who serve in the armed forces have been growing more segregated from their fellow countrymen. Fewer than 1 percent of Americans now serve in the military. Those who join are likely to have parents, uncles or aunts who served before them, forming a kind of military caste. And on the post-9/11 battlefields, lower-income and less-educated communities have shouldered a greater share of American casualties than in past wars — even Vietnam.

Medical advances reduced battlefield deaths but also, paradoxically, made veterans’ sacrifice less visible to the public. They came home not in body bags but with missing limbs and traumatic brain injuries, leaving Americans less sensitive to the costs of further war, according to Douglas L. Kriner, a political scientist at Boston University who has studied post-9/11 veterans.

Nonfatal casualties seem “not have the political punch that fatal casualties do,” Mr. Kriner said.

By the middle of Mr. Obama’s first term, the majority of post-9/11 veterans said they believed Americans did not understand military life, according to the Pew Research Center. Sixty percent said that the United States should pay less attention to problems overseas.

Some former and current military personnel have embraced libertarian candidates, such as Ron Paul, a former United States representative from Texas, who criticized American interventions abroad. In 2012, Mr. Paul raised more money from active-duty service members during the early phase of the campaign than all other Republican candidates combined, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Dustin Stewart, a former Army captain and an Iraq war veteran, supports Mr. Trump. “The Iraq war was a disaster. He is at least not trying to tiptoe around it,” he said.CreditJoe Buglewicz for The New York Times

Mr. Stewart grew up in a conservative family in Texas, where Rush Limbaugh’s show often played on the radio. In 2000, he cast a proud vote for George W. Bush. But six years later, he was leading an infantry platoon outside Ramadi, a hotbed of the insurgency then enveloping parts of Iraq. Mr. Stewart returned home alive but disillusioned. He supported Mr. Paul in the 2008 Republican primary race and Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee, in the 2012 election.

“I don’t want pity. I just want people to care,” said Mr. Stewart, adding, “Do you know what your politicians are sending us to do?”

In mid-February, boos rang from the rafters of a performing arts center in Greenville, S.C. Mr. Trump, onstage with remaining rivals for the Republican nomination, had just committed what seemed like a major apostasy, assailing the Iraq war and attacking Mr. Bush with gusto. “They lied,” Mr. Trump said. “They said there were weapons of mass destruction — there were none and they knew there were none.”

His words startled the Republican establishment. But in the front row, Daniel Cortez nodded along. Mr. Cortez, a 65-year-old Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam, did not like everything about Mr. Trump. Yet he seemed to be speaking a different language, Mr. Cortez said in a recent interview, more like the one veterans themselves spoke. Mr. Trump argued for a military that was bigger and better equipped but also used more sparingly.

Photo

“Mr. Trump is a breath of fresh air because he is promoting peace through strength,” said Daniel Cortez, a Marine Corps veteran who served in Vietnam. CreditLexey Swall for The New York Times

“Mr. Trump is a breath of fresh air because he is promoting peace through strength,” Mr. Cortez said.

For some conservative veterans, Mr. Trump’s criticisms of the Iraq war have allowed them to vent a stew of emotions: Relief and regret, bitterness and pride. They were repelled by liberal antiwar politics and felt little in common with the war’s most prominent critics. So they held back their misgivings for years, unable to admit to their friends and sometimes themselves that so much had been wasted.

“Nobody likes to say that George W. Bush was a bad president,” said David Fuqua, who spent four years in the Marines and served in Afghanistan in 2011. “Having to defend the rationale for the Iraq war for so long, and then to have someone on the stage talk about how it was a mistake, touched a real nerve.”

Mr. Trump’s national security proposals, some veterans supporting him acknowledged, are often vague or contradictory. But many heard in Mr. Trump’s voice a return to the days of big military budgets and boundless manpower. His sweeping denunciation of Washington elites echoed their own grumbling.

“They look at Clinton as a continuance of what we’ve had for the last 16 years through two administrations,” said Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine Corps general who led the United States Central Command in the late 1990s.

William Hansen, a former Marine who served two National Guard tours in Iraq. In small military towns in California and North Carolina, veterans of all eras cheer Mr. Trump’s promises to fire officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs. CreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

Where Mr. Bush acted rashly in sending troops into Iraq, some veterans said, the Obama administration had acted politically in pulling them out. When the black flags of the Islamic State rose over Falluja and Mosul two years ago, they recalled the sweat or blood they or their friends had shed there. Politicians had started the war, they felt, and politicians had lost it.

“Under George, all we could do was straight right hooks and a couple of uppercuts,” Mr. Hansen said. “When Obama took over, we could only do straight lefts — and we had to say ‘we’re going to punch you’ first.”

‘I Think He’s Genuine’

Mr. Verardo was invited to sit in Mr. Trump’s V.I.P. box at the Republican National Convention.CreditTravis Dove for The New York Times

In 2010, in a bloodily contested river valley in southern Afghanistan, Michael Verardo stepped on an old Russian-made land mine wired to two jugs packed with explosives, rocks and nails. He lost most of his leg immediately. To save his left arm, medics sewed it temporarily onto his back.

Three years ago, Mr. Verardo and his wife, Sarah, moved to North Carolina, where the winters are easier. Though he has two Purple Hearts, it sometimes takes months for him to get an appointment with a neurologist at the V.A.

This summer, at Mr. Trump’s invitation, the family flew to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention. On the first night, Mr. Verardo and his wife sat in the V.I.P. box with Mr. Trump’s family. Mr. Trump seemed to understand, Mr. Verardo recalled. Maybe he would be different.

“I think he’s genuine,” Mr. Verardo said.

One of Mr. Trump’s earliest policy speeches, last October, offered a plan that would allow federal officials to more freely fire and discipline V.A. employees. After the V.A. scandal two years ago, when investigations revealed widespread delays and the deaths of some veterans while waiting for care, public employee unions fiercely oppose such measures.

Mrs. Clinton, who has her own plan for improving V.A. care, said last year that the scandal had “not been as widespread as it has been made out to be.”

“Trump was the first guy to recognize the populist appeal of this problem,” said Paul J. Rieckhoff, the chief executive of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Mr. Trump has “an empathy and a sentiment about what the military has been through, the low morale,” said Howie R. Lind, a Republican activist and former Navy commander who lives in Northern Virginia.

When Mr. Trump talks about veterans, Mr. Lind said, “it’s not like it’s a ‘them,’ or a special interest group. It’s America.

Mr. Lind began hosting weekly Trump dinners for local veterans last spring, promoting them on Facebook, booking back rooms in diners. A few dozen people turned into 80, then 100.” – NY TIMES

Trump Can Win! Analytical Election Forecast.

“The new support line dates back roughly one month. Clinton is, indeed, a dangerous candidate. And yes, she has broken above steeply descending resistance over the past two days. Let us be clear though, this does NOT put her in any sort of safe space. She is NOT winning right now, in spite of the utterly and overwhelming media blitzkrieg saying that she is. Winning would have looked like an earlier breakout above resistance and a more sustained new formation in the positive direction. No, I’m not predicting anything. I’m simply stating, factually, that this is NOT a victory formation yet. If in coming days a new support formation appears, and is ascending, that will be dangerous. This, right now, has all the appearance of a head fake. We’ll know soon enough, but it’s not looking intimidating to me yet.

Honestly, I couldn’t be happier. A slow, gently rising support line is all I ever ask for. The Max support you see ascends too rapidly to be sustained. The rapid descent of resistance is also too rapid to hold. And, the fact that support was found, even for just one day, yesterday, at the minimum support level you see is a type of beautiful good. We’ll of course see where we go, but if we begin to slowly build forward and upward gently again, we’ll win.

Absolutely tied. Sure, Clinton’s support is up. Yes, Trump’s resistance is down. But, even one day where she drops down a little and he rises up a little indicates that momentum for her and against him is NOT absolute. Even if she does rise above him temporarily in coming days, we still have time to reversed that trend. And, if the actual momentum we had before the video was released is re-attained, then we’ve won for sure. We will know within the next 7 – 14 days, at least as far as the numbers go, here at the macro level.” (C) GivingVeterensTheirVoice.org

Donated to Veterans – $5.6MM

Veterans For Trump Al Balderasaro retired USMC speaks in support of Mr. Trump’s donations for veterans. Al Balderasaro states, “I have been involved in many veteran fund raisers, Mr. Trump did the right thing vetting the veteran organizations. Mr. Trump gave 100% and is doing this from his heart. Look at Mr. Trump’s plan to help veterans how to fix the Veterans Administration. The media needs to focus on the real issues”.

 

LEADERSHIP IS INFLUENCE | Decision Making and Group Influence

LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT INFLUENCE | My recent Reading and analytical response on the Topic of Negotiation in Organizational Leadership.

Everyday people are faced with situations in life that demands us to make choices. Leadership of a Delegation is one of the ideas that got developed by Raymond Saner in his book Expert Negotiator.  He illustrated how leadership gets exhibited in different situations and the influence that it has to people.  Various leadership styles that get used differ from one cultural background to the other as explained by Saner.  According to Saner, group functions is closely related to leadership as a group of team members can get directly involved in developing leadership systems hence make crucial decisions.  The purpose of a team gets related to the subject at hand which accrues from the identified problem, information that needs to be collected and disseminated.  Leadership and groups go hand in hand with each other, and the two are inseparable where the personal interest of each of the member in a group needs to be satisfied.  Leadership gets characterized by the ability to involve negotiation skills, effective communication and decision making that is ethical.

In making decisions, the involvement of a team is crucial where members of a team get involved in reaching a consensus on matters about issues at hand.  Leadership is essential in making decisions where the leader direct other members of a group on what need to get done.  It is, therefore, that we ensure there is effective leadership with the aim of reaching for quality decisions that will lead to development.  The applicability of leadership is evident in the real world and revolves around day to day operations. For example, a close friend once worked as a team leader for a group that was involved in community mobilization activities targeting in educating local population on hygiene and proper sanitation.  As a team leader, one gets entitled with providing leadership to the other members of the group which at times is not an easy task.  He faced challenges concerning negotiation skills where some of the members felt that they could stand out and oppose what the leader decided.  He, however, ensured that he undertook all communication initiatives to inform them what gets expected of them depending on what needed to get done at any level.  In making successful negotiation skills, it is important to employ good leadership qualities to ensure that as a leader you have the significant influence towards other people.

Negotiation skills and effective communication are vital in the ethical decision-making process.  Our daily routines demand that we make decisions that are healthy to our well-being which is unavoidable as they are part and parcel of our life.  Various researchers have built their work on identifying how negotiations vary from rationality. (Raiffa, 1982) developed a decision analytic approach to negotiations which dictated how we should behave.  Raiffa focused on offering prescriptions to negotiators but called for descriptive research to assess the behavior of their counterparts who are impacted by the decision that gets made.  His ideas got based on the argument that as a negotiator, one should get to understand the likely behavior of the other people.

Studies have revealed that because people egocentrically interpret what is fair in negotiations, they can adopt different standards, which get based on whether they introduce a certain decision or they are a victim of the same (Babcock and Loewenstein, 1997).  People tend to develop these different standards and qualities without their conscious awareness (Banaji, 2003).  These varying perceptions have been viewed as a way of initiating conflicts between parties.  If one party views a certain action as ethical and the other sees it as unethical, there tends to exist a barrier which gets to continually develop a significant barrier hindering the development of a relationship.  From this statement, we can conclude that decisions will always affect one party or the other either negatively or positively.  Failure is never welcome to people and thus when such result affect one negatively; it gets viewed as failures which can results to more barriers between the parties involved.

According to Forgas (1998), emotions get connected with how negotiators select certain strategy to implement in certain decision making processes.  Those who exhibit anger were found to be less competent compared to those who were jovial.  According to Loewenstein et al., (1989), anger makes negotiators more self-centered and this affects their preferences hence making them decline offers that would assist in the development of ventures.  Research has also focused on the role of emotions and how they affect the ability to judge and behave.  It also aimed at examining cognition and the distinguishing element between good and bad moods and how they lead to different information strategies (Forgas and George, 2001).

More so, emotions influence decision making in negotiation processes.  Some of the regulatory processes may be expressed through emotions control efficient decision making through both implicit and explicit knowledge (Damasio, 1994).  The connection between emotional intelligence skills and negotiation outcomes got laid down by Barsade and Gibson (2007) where they sought to find the effects of generalized versus discrete emotions on decision making.  This means that the mental condition of an individual gets to influence his ability to engage in decision-making and the quality of decisions that he makes.

Monarchy Decision Making | Square Puzzle Round Puzzle

Monarchy Decision Making | Square Puzzle Round Puzzle

Negotiation is closely related to intuitions, and as much as we tend to think that the ability to negotiate is a natural occurrence, we cannot assume that the gut feeling plays a greater role in this process. Keith ( 2000) developed two systems of thought that characterize emotions which influence how we negotiate.  One of the systems got viewed as being automatic and effortless while the other as deliberate and systematic situations.  As much as we have control over how we think about situations, when it concerns complex decisions and negotiations, the effort shifts to the thought that is automatic and effortless.   According to Dijksterhuis and Nordgren (2006),  what we strongly feel may indeed allow us to make better decisions especially when it has to do with decisions that get to be complex. According to research, some negotiators are better than others and as Thompson (2005) stated, successful negotiation can get primarily attributed to natural skill or talent.  However, arguments against this have gotten developed with the ideas that we all learn to become better negotiators.  Research has also shown that the ability to negotiate can increase with training and boost the level of interactive agreements too (Thompson, 2005).  The benefits of training may also be transferred over time although there are suggestions that the type of training may affect the optimal levels that can get reached.

Despite the existing knowledge about the positive impact of training on negotiation performance, implicit beliefs concerning skills and performance may not necessarily match explicit knowledge (Brown, 2009).  The idea of whether we are born with certain levels of negotiation skills or whether we learn them remains a matter of discussion to most researchers.  This ability is a determinant of the communication levels and strategies to engage in when making decisions.

Developing a key communication strategy is vital in ethical decision-making procedures.  Leaders need cross-cultural negotiation skills to maintain their competitiveness (Okoro, 2012).  They need to develop a system that is easy to inform as well as enquire if anything is not clear so that it reduces cases of misunderstanding.  Tones and words that are chosen to deliver information should be friendly so that a good and friendly relationship gets maintained.  It is recommended that leaders undergo training related to interpersonal development so that group success (Okoro, 2012).  As the saying goes that “Actions speak louder than words”, leaders should get to recognize their nonverbal communication methods and be aware of acceptable behavior as well as restrict the same depending on cultural variations.  Open communication can lead to a well-developed relationship between the leader and the followers thus leading to trust and respect in the leadership system.  The presence of effective communication develops the leader’s credibility and increases the royalty of the followers towards their leader (Choan, 2003).  In this regard, every communication opportunity should get treated as a way of building a relationship between the leader and the group members.  A leader should have the ability to understand his team so that he can detect how to involve negotiation processes with them and make vital decisions that are crucial to everyone.

Leadership cuts across all spheres of life and all the leaders are expected to portray certain traits that are relevant in the world today.  As a leader, one is mandated with the powers to lead others into developing courses of actions which are applicable depending on the situation at hand.  When we talk of leadership, we cannot leave out the negotiation element since it acts as a backbone to any decision maker.  A good leader should have the necessary negotiation skills and use them to source for appropriate strategies.  Communication goes hand in hand which is a vital part in the success of any agenda.  When there is no appropriate communication between different parties, there develop loopholes which lead to communication shortcomings.

In making decisions, leaders should ensure that there is an ethical standard which meets the criteria that get set.  Group dynamics should be observed and ensure that all the members are directly involved in all of the decision-making procedures.  A consensus is necessary so that the decisions made are acceptable among all the team members.  Great delegations have fallen apart without this observation.

Watching current organizational leadership grow in the world of Political Science I have seen first hand how this lack of decision making hierarchy leads to further dissension and disorganization.  Cultural differences and the lack of proper communication style can lead to disenfranchised spirits and further ether is brought between team members.  By breaking down the separation between interconnected groups more efficient decision making was seen in a local Volunteer group that I organized.  Through team building exercises built around a local campaign for Veterans Initiatives I watched this unfold in a real time situation.  The results of this leadership style built influence, organization, partnership through the divide which lead to productivity completing the needed missions in hand.  Furthermore although the Gut cannot be scientifically proven it’s influence in the outcome of every negotiation or decision cannot be negated either.

Self driving Cars | Future or Gimmick?

The future of self-driving cars is very bright, with predictions that nearly 10 million driverless cars will be on the road by 2020. The growth potential of this new technology, via the adaption of this technology by organizations and companies that have a need for self-driving cars, is beyond question. Studies have shown that the potential numbers of lives that will be saved due to the prevention of human error accidents will increase dramatically. This is one of the major factors driving the success of these cars to date and it previews the corporate impact that this technology will have in the commercial marketplace.

Self-driving autonomous cars provide the ability to change and improve the way public and private transportation is managed and the options that people have within cities. Self-driving cars are created with an artificial intelligence that does not get distracted, fall asleep while driving, or make minor mistakes that cause collisions with other cars, pedestrians or objects like humans can. Human error is virtually eliminated in the use of a driverless car. The passenger no longer has to be concerned with traffic patterns and routes, construction obstacles, speed limits, weather, or quick maneuvering to avoid an accident. In a recent CNN interview in 2015 with the current CEO of the Autonomous Cars project for Google, John Krafcik stated that “Self-driving cars could save thousand of lives, give people greater mobility, and free us from things we find frustrating about driving today.”

Google X, their exclusive research incubator for its self-driving cars, has partnered with Ford and other automobile manufacturers in a joint venture that could usher in the technology of self-driving vehicles for hire in addition to providing the cars to the general public. It is hoped that the self-driving cars in and of themselves and the implementation of this technology in the commercial sector will allow Google and car manufacturers to compete with companies such as Uber and regular taxi services located throughout the country.

In addition, self-driving cars are expected to do well in fulfilling the needs of all employers to transport their own employees, whether it is moving people from meeting to meeting, moving goods across town, or sending groups of workers out to various job sites. This could make a huge financial and strategic impact on corporations that is favorable to companies, such as Google, that pay to transport their employees.

Having autonomous cars available for company managers is paramount.  No long will they have to arrange for and coordinate rides for groups of employees. This will save the company an enormous amount of managerial time and the related expenses associated with moving employees. (Personally, I feel that one of my biggest frustrations within my current organizations) It is very difficult to find the time to look for outside transportation and to plan the pick up and drop off schedules for employees needing transportation. In my current organization it is often necessary to transport a team of workers from job to job several times per day. With the emerging technology of self-driving cars it will no longer be necessary to pay Uber drivers or traditional taxi drivers to transport our employees. I would also no longer have the cost of maintaining any corporate vehicles!

Google has successfully implemented this new technology in the cities of Mountain View, California, Kirkland, Washington and Austin, Texas. In 2009 Google first began testing its self-driving car technology in California. Later in 2014 they started testing the cars on public roads. By July 2015 their cars were in being tested in the city of Austin, Texas and Kirkland, Washington. The main focus of these tests are to collect data regarding weather and traffic patterns, road conditions, and the differences that the separate communities may have in their driving techniques.

Google now expects to expand into four additional cities within the next year, although Google and car manufacturers have not announced which cities have made the cut. They are striving to have these cars ready for use in several sectors by 2020.

This coming year holds great promise for the expanding use of autonomous cars with the expansion into these cities and the continued testing of the cars. New style designs such as the Lexus SUV model are currently on the road for tests, while Google studies how people interact and use the new technology. According to the January 2016 report on the Google car website, there are a total of 55 cars on the streets at this very moment.

As the technology expands and improves, individuals can look forward to improved safety on the roads and corporations can project major cost savings in the form of cheaper insurance and less management and labor costs.  Stay Tuned to more updates!

See more in the links provided below

For those who still believe that Self Driving Cars are a Gimmick check out the following links :
G. (2015). Google Self Driving Car Project.
Retrieved January 30, 2016, from https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/where/

Gitlin, J. M. (2016, January 11). Ars talks self driving car technology with Ford at CES.
Retrieved January 23, 2016, from http://arstechnica.com/cars/2016/01/arstalksselfdrivingtechnologywithfordatces/

Korosec, K. (2016, January 05). Ford Hits the Gas On Self Driving Cars.
Retrieved January 27, 2016, from http://fortune.com/2016/01/05/fordselfdrivingcarfleet/

Krafcik, J. (2015, September 14). Google hires a car guy.
Retrieved January 29, 2016, from http://money.cnn.com/2015/09/14/technology/googleselfdrivingcar/

Shepardson, D. (2015, December 22). Google, Ford in talks on self driving car.
Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://www.reuters.com/article/usalphabetautosautonomousidUSKBN0U600U20151223

Oremus, Will ((2015, January 14) Google Is In Talks With Big Automakers to Build Self-Driving Cars
Retrieved February 22, 2016 from
http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2015/01/14/google_self_driving_cars_may_be_built_by_gm_ford_toyota_or_mercedes.html

Mearian, Lucas, (2015, December 22) Google and Ford To Build Self Driving Car Company
Retrieved February 25, 2016 from
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3017796/car-tech/google-and-ford-to-build-self-driving-car-company-report-claims.html

Google Self Driving Car Project (Website)
Retrieved February 25, 2016 from https://www.google.com/selfdrivingcar/

Greenbough, John (2016, July 29) 10 Million Self-Driving Cars Will Be On the Roads by 2020
Retrieved February 23, 2016 from
http://www.businessinsider.com/report-10-million-self-driving-cars-will-be-on-the-road-by-2020-2015-5-6

(2016, February 22) What’s Next for Self-Driving Cars?
Retrieved February 24, 2016 from http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/02/22/467724324/whats-next-for-self-driving-cars

(2016, January 29) Google Preparing to Expand Self Driving Car into Four Cities
Retrieved February 25, 2016 from
Google Preparing to Expand Self-Driving Car Program to Four More Cities

VETERAN | REFLECTIONS | BUSINESS QUARTER

How many times Have you spent countless hours preparing, then to watch it end so quickly?

For me as I reflect on the past 90 days for certain it would be my most recent speech on a Veterans perspective of our SOTU. As I was opening in Manassas, Virginia for a rally in front of five thousand people. I was able to share all my passion revolving Veteran Service needs and it’s definition and correlation to why I was there. For those who have messaged me for this speech this post is one of three which will highlight my speech that night.

“Right now times are tough and we need to be encouraged I look at the dollar Bill and read In God We Trust along with the Photo of our First President General George Washington. Just 45mins from here, above his tomb. It reads the “remains of General George Washington.” He wanted history to recall him as a General, a military leader and with it the epitome of sacrifice. At this time of year; along with his wife, they endured bitter, cold, hardship, and shortages of food as, they braved the elements. It was a hard; hard, difficult life. Today, the service members of our country face their challenges, perhaps not with the same degree of hardship, as George Washington, but by all means, with the same emotional strain.” – Joshua Macias 12/4/2015RALLY_MANASSAS_POV