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“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I am glad my sons and daughter are past the age of the draft. Can you imagine a WW III with nukes and egos like Putin, Trump, Kim Jong-un, Xi Jinping and Ahmadinejad?

In school (which I didn’t like much), I oft times questioned, “Why are we studying history?” It was so boring and seemingly pointless. The only exception for me was my perverse fascination with Hitler. I wondered how he could get a whole nation to follow him in the brutal genocide of so many women and children, and how he could turn a generation of men and boys into cold blooded killers.

That interest has followed me to adulthood. Recently, I read a book about Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was a pastor, prophet, spy and martyr in Germany during WWII. He is called a prophet because when the populace didn’t believe Hitler had a chance of getting onto the voting ballot, Pastor Bonhoeffer sensed he was a dangerous man with a selfish agenda. Then, when Hitler did make it onto the general election ballot, he was not taken seriously by many at the time. Bonhoeffer’s apprehension grew. He recognized Hitler’s seductive appeal to Germans. Hitler campaigned across Germany with his platform of making Germany Great Again, fear mongering and bigotry. Before anyone knew it, Hitler was elected and his message became mandated and sinister.

As promised in his election campaign, Hitler immediately waged war on Russia but then his greed escalated, pushing him into Poland and the slaughtering of Jews. To build his army, he enacted the draft. Young men were faced with the choice of killing or be killed by a firing squad.

Hitler’s pre-election religion propaganda culminated into a government takeover of churches that were instructed to comply or lose their funding. Pastors were not exempt from the draft. Their sermons had to be Reich approved, which left little to preach about except Antisemitism. This was the turning point for Bonhoeffer.  He began plotting the assassination of Hitler.

Inside Germany, the growing coo had no support from Winston Churchill and Roosevelt. They were hindered by slow communications and suspicion of the Germans. Eventually, Bonhoeffer and other German patriots and military officers would be discovered and martyred.

Now, some 4 decades after school, I know why history is important. You must remember it and learn from it, lest you repeat it.

 

History is a detective hunt.

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Interview Advice for both hiring managers and potential candidates

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Publishers Blog: How to Interview (for hiring managers and candidates)

Publishers Blog: How to Interview (for hiring managers and candidates)

By Kerry McCoy
Brave Publisher & Owner of FlagandBanner.com

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN --2/10/15-- Kerry McCoy, owner and president of Arkansas’ Flag and Banner was the recipient of the Betsy Ross Award from the National Independent Flag Dealers Association (NIFDA). FlagandBanner.com started as a one-woman company with McCoy handling all aspects of the business. That small flag business has grown to become a multi-million dollar success located in downtown Little Rock at 800 West 9th Street and now employs a staff of 25.

Kerry McCoy, owner of Arkansas’ Flag and Banner and Publisher of Brave Magazine.

When I first started hiring people, I found conducting interviews scary. Yes, that’s right. I felt like I was being interviewed, and I was. Rejection goes both ways.

For the Interviewer

Often, I hear small business owners lament, “You just can’t find good help these days.” After much experience, I have found there’s only two reasons for that; either you can’t hire, or you can’t train. That’s it. See suggested interviewer questions at the end of this article.

The candidate has read the three sentence job description online or in the paper and thinks ‘I could do that.’ However, the depth and breadth of the job is not known to them. It should be known to the interviewer, thus making them the bearer of responsibility.

The most important thing I can tell an interviewer is…don’t talk, listen. The most common mistake an interviewer makes is to talk nervously about the job, company, and company expectations. This allows the candidate to learn about you, not the other way around. You do not want to feed the candidate the answers to your interview questions and then think they are a perfect fit because they repeat what you have just told them.

A bad hire costs the company time, money and morale. Not to mention the impact on the psyche of the new employee. I once heard Warren Buffett explain his “Three I” theory for hiring, “The candidate needs to have Intelligence, Initiative and Integrity, with Integrity being the most important attribute.” Think about it, a smart, motivated person who doesn’t have integrity could do a lot of damage.”

Listen for ownership or excuses, motivation or laziness, and organization or sloppiness. Look at their attire. Is the candidate’s clothing appropriate?
Don’t forget to Google them before hiring!

For the Candidate

It is just as important for the candidate to get the right job. You don’t want to start a new job only to find later it’s not a good fit for you.
Have your resume scrubbed and updated. Don’t list all the jobs you held for 2 months. It looks unstable and unprofessional. Before going to the interview make sure you visit the company’s website and read up on their products and owner. There is no excuse for not doing this. You might even find their philosophy and products are unappealing. If so, then don’t waste your time with an interview. If yes, then start with your own list of questions.

This is important. You are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.

Listen for honest answers. Check out the working conditions. Again paraphrasing Warren Buffett, “find a company you like, apply for a job there and work your way up the ladder.” The reason I ended up as the president of my company is because I took a job that led to another job and so forth. See suggested candidate questions below.

Don’t be a job snob. If you’re unemployed, any job is a move up. It is easier to get hired if you are currently employed. And keep in mind…you will be Googled! Good Luck!

Interviewer questions:

  • Did you look up our company on the Internet? (if no, then no initiative)
  • Did you bring your resume, even if they already emailed it? (if no, then no preparation)
  • At the end of the interview, don’t forget to ask if they have any questions. (I like to hire someone who asks questions)
  • If they could do anything in the world, what would it be? (this tells you a lot about a person)
  • What is your hobby? (it’s nice to find a parallel in their job)
  • In your life, what are you most proud of?
  • What is your strongest virtue?
  • What is your weakest trait? (this is important; don’t try to fit a square peg in a round hole)
  • If I looked in your car how clean would it be? (that one always gets them)
  • What type of job are they looking for? (it may not be what you are offering)
  • Give me 3 adjectives to describe yourself? (listen up)
  • How many hours would you like to work? (I am always surprised at these answers)
  • Why did you leave your last job? (do they take responsibility or blame others)
  • If I Google you, would I find an arrest record? (Get ready for a confession.)

Candidate questions:

  • Where does the company expect to be in 5 years?
  • What is the company’s philosophy?
  • What is the company’s weakest link?
  • What are the hours?
  • What are the benefits?
  • What is the pay?
  • What is the dress code?
  • What is the work place culture?
  • What is the potential for promotion?
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First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 Pastor Martin Niemoller 1892-1984 (concentration camp prisoner WWII)


Is it time to take down the Statue of Liberty? In 2016 are we no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave? But instead the land of the fearful and the home of the afraid?

Since time began, people have used a variety of religions and scriptures to validated their bad behavior.  Hitler was an atheist and a fear monger. And yet he motivated a whole nation of professed Christians with propaganda and fear. Are Americans destined to be that part of history that repeats itself? I don’t want to be remembered for repeating that part of history.

Judge not lest ye be judged. American’s rape, rob, shoot, and bomb ourselves more than any outsider ever thought about.

There are lots of speculation about why this happens; lack of church in the schools, abandonment of dinner time with families, too many after school lock key children, over population, etc. I am a simple person and can’t begin to know the answer to such a complex social and criminal issue. I reconcile the problem with the knowledge that humans are flawed. You might simplify it even more and by thinking “Boys will be boys”. To that I respond “Women will be women”. Therefore, my arms are open to all that suffer and are oppressed.

I vote in 2016 to leave Lady Liberty standing tall and bright, a beacon for those to find their way to our shores, our land of opportunity that welcomed my ancestors, lest we fall into the lament of Pastor Martin Niemoller.

 

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Makeshift memorial after the ISIS attacks in Paris.

What does ISIS Want?

ISIS is not getting their message out.  What are their demands?  What is their objective? Does anyone know? If you poll your friends and neighbors you may hear, “to kill Westerners, or to kill Christians, or to kill Americans.”  But the fact is ISIS is an equal opportunity terrorist group.  They attack Europeans, Africans, Russians, Muslims, Christians, Jews, etc.

The mainstream media seems to relish talking about religion and detailing the pain and suffering of those killed.  This type of “Shock Jock” reporting only inflates fear and panic in American citizens. It also reeks of Nazi Propaganda where the amoral Christians ignorantly marched Jews to their deaths. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor, theologian, and martyr during WWII, “The moral right and pious are the sworn enemies of Christianity.”

ISIS’s killings and threats are symptoms of the problem.  But what is the problem? What does ISIS want? What is so compelling about their message that it inspires martyrdom? The first step to solving any problem is to identify it, then you can look for a solution. On PBS News Hour I learned ISIS’s funding comes from the sale of oil to all of us (they are rich), and their secondary funding comes from kidnapping and ransom.  But I still don’t know their objective.

We, the people, deserve our government and media to be accurate information sources. Religious posturing by our politicians, sensationalism by our media, and lack of transparency by our government is a threat to our freedom.

We live in the information age, yet we are uninformed. Tell us the problem so we the people can think together for a solution.  Don’t put a ring in our nose, so you can jerk our heads this way and that through sensationalized reporting and fear mongering speeches.

We have not forgotten the war in Iraq, that was reported and fueled by the corporations of America.

In an effort to be transparent I must confess, wars are generally good for the flag business.  I am also a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 2, and I pray for them a world of love and peace for all.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN --2/10/15-- Kerry McCoy, owner and president of Arkansas’ Flag and Banner was the recipient of the Betsy Ross Award from the National Independent Flag Dealers Association (NIFDA). FlagandBanner.com started as a one-woman company with McCoy handling all aspects of the business. That small flag business has grown to become a multi-million dollar success located in downtown Little Rock at 800 West 9th Street and now employs a staff of 25.Kerry McCoy is founder and president of FlagandBanner.com and publisher of Brave Magazine.

McCoy has been in the flag business for more than 40 years. If you would like Kerry McCoy for an interview or to speak at your event, please contact tammie@flagandbanner.com with details. 

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An Interview with Kerry McCoy owner of FlagandBanner.com

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Kerry talks with radio host about Confederate Flags, Rainbow Flags, censorship, the emotions of flags and about being in business for 40 years and how it has changed over the years.

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Delegate your way to Success

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delegate_it_infographic1By Kerry McCoy
Publisher

In order to expand your business, you must learn to delegate. It sounds easy enough, but most people have a hard time telling others what to do.
In the 80’s, when my daughter was young, I ran Arkansas’ Flag and Banner out of my home. When you are an entrepreneur working from home, your list of tasks and distractions are huge. You spend your day trying to balance domestic chores with income producing work. Most of the time, the chores win. It is easy to become scattered and, by day’s end, be exhausted having accomplished little.
Recognizing this production tug-of war, I decided to do a week-long time study. I broke my chart down into 15 minute increments and I kept the entries very brief. My categories included house cleaning, childcare, personal, selling, clerical, shipping and errands. What an eye opener to find I spent most of my day on unskilled tasks that did not earn any income. I was buried in busy work – not at all what I would have thought. My next challenge was to prioritize and decide what warranted my attention and time and what I could delegate to someone else. As a result, I hired a housekeeper. This took trust, faith in humanity and a little looking the other way (because no one cleans your home the way you do).
Next, I hired a receptionist to answer the phone while I went out selling. My sales went up. I hired clerical help, and my receivables turned around faster, which puts money in the bank. None of this came without angst about expenses, but with every hire, my productivity increased and I was able to cover the additional salaries and increase my income as well.
When my family grew to four children, I delegated grocery shoping and help with homework to housekeepers and tutors. This created more time for me to focus my attention on the work tasks that only I, the owner, could do. As a by-product, it created the quality time with my family that everyone is always preaching about.
Delegating did not come easily to me. I would lay awake nights worrying how I was going to tell my employee they needed to wash their hair before coming to work. Since AFB’s inception in 1975, my job description has morphed many times. Learning to be the interviewer and not the interviewee is scary. Learning to let go is not easy. I still remember the first time I hired a salesperson and heard her answer the phone. I had to sit on my hands and let her learn, the same way you sit on your hands when your children first learn to empty the dishwasher.
Moving from salesperson to boss of 25 people is exhilarating, hard, scary, fun, challenging and rewarding. I haven’t sold flags for over ten years. I spend most of my days managing employees and improving processes. One of my strengths is recognizing an employee’s strong suit and placing them in a position at AFB where they will be successful. Who would have thought?
So, if you start too many emails with “I am sorry I am just now getting back to you but I have been sooooo busy,” it may be time for you to GROW and learn to delegate.

This article was originally published in Brave Magazine Fall/Winter 2015 Edition. 

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We the sheeple…

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sheep
I am always amazed at the sheep-like mentality of humans. I first heard the word propaganda when I was about 12. It was being used in conjunction with WWII. I was aghast, and I asked my big sister, how can you get a whole nation of people to commit genocide against each other? The answer: propaganda, a fascinating word and concept. To think, humans are such sheep that we take whatever is told to us at face value without using our own reasoning powers.

One of the keys to my success is my ability to reason. I have learned to keep my emotions in check when making business decisions. That is why I am profoundly confused about all the Confederate flag propaganda. How do the sheep of America think the world news outlets latched onto this Confederate flag issue? Do you think World News Tonight, CNN and others just got together and decide to NOT talk about the gun that killed those churchgoers and to talk about the flag instead? Really? Are Americans so yoked by the news media that they will follow any lipstick-on-a-pig story?

Think America, how did the Confederate flag frenzy get started? Who has the power to feed all the media outlets in one day and have their story heard? Who doesn’t want to talk about the real issue, gun control? Who cares more about protecting their gun sales than healing race relations in America? Please people, learn to think for yourselves. Our country depends on Americans making informed decisions about important issues. The selling of Confederate flags is not an important issue. It is a coup for the media, a hot button, propaganda and a waste of good energy that could be put to making positive change in America.

Stop being sheep; they will walk off a cliff.

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Hello, I am Kerry McCoy

I want to thank the NAACP and Julius for coming out and exercising their First Amendment rights, just like I am. 40 years ago, I started my business on $400 and have lived the American dream. Today I continue to live that dream by selling flags and other patriotic items. Due to this morning’s Supreme Court ruling, I feel sure the gay pride flag will take the forefront in our sales. Such is the flag business.

To say that I am supporting racism is incorrect. I have given back to my community and black history by restoring a 20th century historically significant African American building on 9th Street in Little Rock AR. At my expense, I have co-published a book with UALR (University of Arkansas at Little Rock) about its heritage, and through my efforts a 2 hour AETN documentary is soon to be released. Without me this piece of history would have been torn down 20 years ago.

Like all retailers I know not what is in the hearts of any of my customers when they buy from me. Are they going to burn the American flag or fly it.

Like everyone in America I am deeply disturbed by the South Carolina events. Let us focus on the bigger picture, race relations. Who taught this kid to hate and why did he get a gun.

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The Power of Mass Media’s Influence on Confederate Battle Flag Debate

The Bonnie Blue Confederate Flag

Bonnie Blue Flag

The power of media to ignite the masses always amazes me.  All of this attention focused on the Confederate flag has had a reverse reaction. Rather than stopping sales, demand has skyrocketed. I have probably sold more Confederate flags in the last week than I have in the last 40 years.

Many of the buyers are not from the South and don’t even care about the flag itself. They’re just caught up on the idea that it might become obsolete, so they’re buying one to put in the closet, only to be discovered 30 years from now by their grandchildren.  As Carl Jung said, “What you resist, persists.”

The murderer that started this debate was holding a gun and brandishing the Confederate battle flag.  Aren’t we focusing on the wrong thing in this picture?  The flag did not kill anyone. Do I wish the white supremacist hadn’t adopted the confederate battle flag?  Yes, because then I could still pretend to be a teenaged rebel.  Do I wish the Tea Party hadn’t adopted the “don’t tread on me” Gadsden flag?  Yes, because then I could still fly it for fun without looking like I was supporting a cause.

But all of the above has happened.   Pick another Confederate flag to show your heritage.  Check out the Bonnie Blue, the Republic of West Florida flag that once served as a Confederate banner.  In Margaret Mitchell’s book, Gone with the Wind, Rhett Butler named his daughter Bonnie after the flag. It is a lovely flag, and maybe it’s time it got its due.

We don’t want to forget history.  It is through our remembrance of history that we ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes.  More soldiers died during the Civil War than during the Vietnam War. To learn about the black soldiers who fought with the Confederacy, visit my sister building down the street, the Mosaic Templar Cultural Center at 9th and Broadway in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/BENJAMIN KRAIN --2/10/15-- Kerry McCoy, owner and president of Arkansas’ Flag and Banner was the recipient of the Betsy Ross Award from the National Independent Flag Dealers Association (NIFDA). FlagandBanner.com started as a one-woman company with McCoy handling all aspects of the business. That small flag business has grown to become a multi-million dollar success located in downtown Little Rock at 800 West 9th Street and now employs a staff of 25.

Kerry McCoy is founder and president of FlagandBanner.comand publisher of Brave Magazine. Kerry has been in the flag business for more than 40 years. If you would like Kerry for an interview or to speak at your event, please contact tammie@flagandbanner.com with details. 
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