Stars and Stripes Team USA

I heard some exciting news yesterday. A team from the Long Beach Yacht Club will be the 5th Challenger for the America’s Cup! Their team name is Stars and Stripes Team USA and I couldn’t be more excited.

While I’ve been a supporter of Team New Zealand since 2000 when I happened to be there for one of the races, I really like the idea of a fully American team and crew and am looking forward to rooting for the US team this go-around.  

This Stars and Stripes Team USA was co-founded by American sailors Mike Buckley and Taylor Canfield. The name is a nod to Dennis Conner’s Stars & Stripes teams which has had, admittedly, mixed success with regards to America’s Cup campaigns.

Taylor Canfield and Mike Buckley of Stars & Stripes Team USA

While I’m doing my best not to be too superstitious, I can certainly say I will be looking forward to this next generation of All-American sailors and wishing the best for their success. 

If you’re looking for something to tide you over during this trickle of news about America’s Cup challengers that has been coming out, I highly recommend the movie Wind, which was artistically sourced from events during the 1983 and 1987 America’s Cup series.

America’s Cup Press Release (Dec. 12, 2018)
Scuttlebutt (Dec. 12, 2018)

Gratitude

I’ve been thinking a lot about gratitude lately for a few reasons.

The first reason is that my wife and I have been slowly making our way through the writing of our wedding thank you cards. It’s taken more time than either of us thought it would. Partially because you want to find the right words to say, and partially because we both want to be involved in writing them and expressing our appreciation for our guest’s attendance and/or gift. Finding the time where both of us can sit down to focus on them is still a work in progress.

The second reason gratitude has been on my mind lately is because I heard an excellent talk about gratitude at a holiday industry luncheon. These types of luncheons are generally pleasant with people you haven’t seen for a while but tangentially know through the industry along with a speaker discussing various industry trends. But this speaker was different. He spoke about gratitude and its power to connect and lift people up. No request to donate to the group during the holiday. No moralizing. Just an interesting and thought-provoking take on gratitude. While I had heard this type of advice around thank you cards and daily mantras, this particular talk was the kind that grabs you because it was different than what you expected.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to write a whole list of people thank you notes for some time (not just wedding-related ones). I’m not sure I’ll be able to match the 365 thank-you notes in a year like this lawyer did, but once a month seems like a good place to start for New Year’s Resolution #1.

Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

This administration continues to astound me. Every time I think I’m beyond being surprised by their actions, they dig a little further into the rock bottom.

Here is the full statement from the Trump White House:

Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia

The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries – and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that – this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction – and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels – so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!