Mann to Man

The American Condition Politically, Culturally, Economically

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Location: Williamsburg, VA, United States

Raised in rural Greenbrier Co. WV, BS Chemistry WVU, PhD Chemistry, GA Tech,Chemistry Faculty, GA Tech, 1965-1969, Dir R&D BASF Fibers 1969-1982,Sr.Exec. R&D, Burlington Industries, 1982-1986,Owner/CEO Mann Industries (formerly BASF fibers)1988-1995, CEO/Owner The Mann Group Consultants, 1987-2009, wife Carol, daughters Leigh, Susan

Thursday, May 29, 2014



Recently, Robert Reich issued the statement below published as a meme in a Face Book group in which I'm a participant. Innocent people, who want to trust his advice because of his “status,” bought into his theory. I dissented because his opinion made no sense, was even a reversal of normal economic consequences of corporate actions. I even pondered if Reich was setting up a straw man for coming unfavorable economic news to protect President Obama and his economic advisers, whom I've long viewed as dysfunctional. The economic news of the last few days strongly suggest the latter.

Reports today are that the GDP retracted 1% in the last quarter. There were indicators that this was coming. If some of us laymen saw it, why did Reich not know it?

The recent retail sector reports are strong indicators of a downturn also. Did Reich not know this? Did he know and ignored the data? I will post some retail reports in a separate article.

Is this a pattern of performance? I still remember Dr. Reich's statements as late as 2004 that the good economy of the 90's was because “we invested in education and healthcare that made workers more productive.” That naivete (?) ignored all the drivers of the 90's economy, including the dot com boom.

I rebutted this in a blog post here entitled “Economy of the 90's.” Reich's assertion follows. Note: The economy has already turned down with a GDP report today of negative 1%. Reported in another post.

Why do I think the stock market will plunge this year? Because most companies are boosting their stock prices not by developing new products or selling more goods and services but by slashing their payrolls and buying back their shares of stock. These steroidal tactics are generating temporary boosts in share prices, but they can’t be sustained. There are only so many workers to be sacked and so many stocks to be repurchased. These companies remain as incapable of generating things people want as before. Consider Hewlett-Packard, which yesterday announced plans to cut an additional 11,000 to 16,000 jobs. Wall Street is enthusiastic, pushing the stock up more than 6 percent today. But the tactic won’t work over the longer term because Hewlett-Packard's PC sales are dropping and business customers are shifting toward cloud computing, where it’s not a major player.

More to the point, as big companies across America continue to shed middle-class jobs in pursuit of lower costs, median household income continues to drop. Which means fewer Americans can afford to buy what these companies have to sell. Which means these companies' profits are bound to shrink and their stock prices to drop. Get it? Workers are consumers. As these companies' workers do worse, so do their customers, and so, ultimately, do they.

Friday, May 23, 2014



With the president continuing to demonstrate profound mismanagement in the newest case, the VA scandal, it's time to post this piece again. His performance was predictable. Please read and respond. Much more is needed than the "president" saying he is "mad as hell" (again). I suppose he means angry, but maybe he is mad. I'm surely angry! Enough mismanagement already!

From Wednesday, May 1, 2013



Since he was first elected president with no accountable job performance, no notable qualifications and with much of his background unknown, many have speculated that Mr. Obama is an operative for others, a “Manchurian candidate” or a “Charley McCarthy” to one or more Edgar Bergen's. While evidence can be sighted to lend credence to such theory, his ineffective job performance and management style make it compelling to conclude that he is simply not qualified for the top job in the world. 
In managing any enterprise, it's a huge mistake to promote a person to a level of management beyond his qualifications. That person invariably continues doing what he or she was doing at the lower level and normally tries simply to do more of it. He does what he understands and stays in his comfort zone. Obama was a "community organizer" requiring mainly persuasive skills. His job would have been to persuade the lower socioeconomic class to go against the "higher ups.” To do so, he convinced them that they were victims of those who "controlled" them. Those who were employed he convinced to organize unions. Those who were unemployed, his job would have been to get them on the public dole. This he has done as president. The only attributes needed for that job are persuasive communication and an integrity deficit. He has both and is doing now what he did then....speaking to those who are non-thinking, non-discerning, those looking for benefits, and even the ignorant. Not all are ignorant, but he depends on them following him reflexively with loyalty to the "D," and to his celebrity status. And they do!

An unqualified manager will always hire people who are like him or her, or even of lesser skills. They will be as incompetent as he. They'll be subservient, they won't upstage him and reveal his inadequacies. They will support him for their own benefit (job, prestige, money). Obama's appointees are largely of this ilk. 

His economic advisers epitomize this – the worst in my lifetime and possibly in history. None understands business and they give no consideration to the structural problems in the economy. They are all Keynesian theorists trying to stimulate the economy as if it suffers an imbalance in supply and demand. Totally wrong-headed!

The EPA has had an incompetent director who has run EPA as a radical environmental activist, not as a responsible manager. She's had no hesitancy to destroy much of the economy, especially coal and oil. She's leaving – her damage done. The will of Obama? Of course!

The Department of Energy under radical unqualified academician, Steven Chu, typifies incompetence – management by prejudicial ideology. His goal was to have gasoline prices “equal to Europe”, $7-9/gal. The president's actions on energy prove he has a similar mind-set. His expenditures on “green energy” defy the management principle that “an enterprise is reinvented or reformed when it's at peak performance and affordable, not when it's depressed.” Obama's energy policies are antithetical to this. Then there is the unavoidable issue of corruption in awarding billions of dollars, most of it lost, to solar and wind energy companies as well as to electric vehicle manufacturers. 
Directors of the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services seem to compete with each other for inexplicable management decisions – Sec. Napolitano on immigration and Sec. Sebelius for dealing with Obamacare as examples. And, DHS's stockpiling of billions of rounds of ammunition lends some credence to conspiracy theorists. But, there's not enough information to make this conclusion. A positive explanation is difficult to come to.

Then there is Eric Holder at DOJ. No doubt he makes prejudicial decisions as he did with the New Black Panthers' voter intimidation in 2008. His prosecution of terrorists is highly questionable. The intervention in questioning the surviving terrorist in the Boston murders is suspicious, to say the least. How about “Fast and Furious” guns to Mexico or the Benghazi cover-up...and more? With Holder, I see deliberate malpractice along with probable incompetence.

And now, we have Chuck Hagel as Sec. Of Defense. His qualifications were questionable. His performance thus far suggests incompetence. To expect improvement would be naïve. 
In the corporate world, it normally takes some time for the incompetent manager to be dealt with. CEOs and boards of directors are reluctant to admit a mistake and may try to "work it out." Turnover is ignored with the explanation that the manager is "cleaning house" of incompetence – opposite from reality. Poor financial performance or personnel problems finally get attention. And, the person is fired after much damage has been done to the enterprise.
In the world of the elected and appointed, non-thinking, non-discerning, prejudiced and even ignorant voters are even more unlikely to remove an incompetent president. They vote for celebrity and for benefits and simply for the party label. So it is with Obama. 
If the person is narcissistic, it is even more difficult to identify the defects and expose his inadequacies. He will obfuscate, he will corral the least among his people to give him strength. President Obama does this in spades. He speaks persuasively on every issue, with acolytes and sycophants shielding him, to those who don't question him. That's his skill set.
If the person intends subversion, he will go to any length to effect it. Obama may be in this category. I have not wanted to think so but it is now imprudent to ignore it. Until I have more proof, I choose the explanation of his ineffectiveness as herein described. 
However, it is now fairly clear that Obama's election to the presidency has assured the loss of traditional America. He is transforming America as he promised in 2008. Non-thinking voters are helping him. Is his goal to destroy her? It seems possible. Reluctantly, I will be vigilant in looking for proof hoping not to find it. Unfortunately, my sense now is that I may find proof.

Friday, May 9, 2014



Perpetrator calls, identifies self as an IRS fraud investigator, alleges that account has been audited, much money owed, advises not to ask questions until he finishes explaining the charge of fraud. They had tried to deliver a “package” to our home and nobody to accept it. I said, bring it again. He said he couldn't … time expired. Inexplicable, but we still were not sure of a scam.

I interrupted. He asked, “Don't you want to know how much you owe.” Advised me we owed a load of money from 2008-2009. Told him that was strange. In 2009 the IRS voluntarily refunded me several thousand dollars for for a filing error. Tenor changed.

He advised bank accounts, credit cards, house (everything but pets and debt) would be taken over.

I said, “I suppose I could resolve this by giving you a credit card number, right? He hesitated. I said, “you're a fraud, a scam, right.” He said “an officer will be at your door within and hour to take you to the courthouse and book you (courthouse?).” I said, “OK bud, let me talk to your IRS manager. He got more indignant and said, “don't waste my time or yours, get ready for the officer.” Hung up.

I notified IRS. Was advised to call Treasury Department Inspector General – 1-800-366-4484

IRS is “having many, many calls of this kind from citizens.

Scam caller ID is District of Columbia.....number 202-241-4617 …. when called message says IRS fraud division.....then punch menu numbers to get agent.

I notified newspapers who will do a story. Police say that had one more from a person who took the bait and gave the perp a prepaid credit card. Such a call is frightening to most including me, even though there were indications of invalidity straight-away. Police and reporter still investigating. Advise your friends.