Sunday, December 20, 2015

What is it to "offend"?

What is the harm in offending someone?  Everyone seems to be up-in-arms about language or actions that may offend a person or entity, but what is the real damage being done?  I was taught that “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”…did I miss something? Do I have the saying backwards?

It is true that words can be powerful, and if said with the right cadence, timing and to the right audience, can illuminate the mind and call the body to action. But have our minds as a collective become so weak that any word or phrase can illicit such a hub-bub?

Today we do not strive to answer the question in what is the offense in offending, we simply pose the question for your consideration.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Rules of Engagement

In the wake of campus “reform” movements taking place at various universities across the country, it is important to make honest debate once again the structure of these conversations.  We have written and spoken often about engaging in honest debate and the importance in dealing in facts to drive discussion.

Two students at UC Berkeley, have written a piece suggesting three rules of engagement for campus protest/movements to assure these become discussions where people can speak but, as important, listen to the other points of view.
  1. Use your speech to ignite principled engagement with the issues, not to extinguish the voices of others
  2. Respect the diverse ways people use public spaces, and refrain from monopolizing them with bodily blockades or disproportionate noise
  3. Scrap the inane chants in favor of compelling arguments, aesthetically presented; protest with an eye to the history books and the creation of culture
These points may seem obvious and commonly practiced, but they are worthy of note, as much of what is referred to as debates or political discourse today is nothing more than preaching a message for consumption into a 5 to 15 second sound-bite for use by a partisan media.

Read “Toward a Freer Speech onCampus: A Perspective from the Concerned Student of 1791” by Nicolas L. Jaber & Nihal Singh by following the link


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Into the Light

In light of the recent tragedies that have struck people worldwide, we are reminded of what we hold most dear.  It is a shame that terrible events are the ones that make us think the most about what we hold dear.

Parents worry of the world they have brought their children into, and children worry about what the world is becoming. In wanting to leave and make this world a better place for ourselves and our posterity, we must continue thinking, speaking, and acting justly.

The relative few that commit these horrible acts should not silence the voice of the many that oppose such violence.  Do not let your voice go unheard; and when you do speak, do so with a steady voice, virtue in your heart and reasoned thought – one might refer to this as vigilance.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Labor for Freedom

Being vigilant is tiring.  It is continuous and laborious, requires patience and the mental capacity to seek out information, comprehend that information and then reason a conclusion.  But I can sleep away the tiredness, I can relax away the frustration and mental strain.  What I cannot do is breathe life back into a fallen soldier or wipe away the blood stain of tyranny.  I would rather struggle to string together the right words to bring shape to my ideas, read pages of text and debate thousands of people than spill blood to retake our lost freedom.

Vigilance is a task not for the faint of heart, but should not be one left for the few – this is the duty of all free people.  A duty to not only secure the blessings of freedom for ourselves, but to ensure our posterity the same freedom of choice.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Resurrect the Conversation

Conversation (noun): an interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons.

Conversation, by its definition, requires more than one individual and the interchange of information.  From this definition we purport that conversation, especially political conversation, is largely non-existent on college campuses and beyond.  The basis for our position is that there is no interchange of thought between people.  We argue that feelings are not thoughts; and an interchange requires an exchange of thought.

For example, a baby cries when she is in discomfort, it is a one way exchange of a feeling but not a conversation.  This is the situation we see as students shout demands about their feelings of discomfort, a la, safe zones against macroaggression or how to dress for Halloween.  For these students, feelings substitutes for fact, discourse and conclusion.  Their feeling is absolute and is the end of conversation, not the beginning.  Thus, there has been a death of conversation in that only one person shouting or making a demand on another is necessary.

But good society requires good discourse; without discourse what good is society?  Good discourse begins with critical thinking, identifying sources of fact then agreeing on a set of facts.  With a set of common facts, good discourse can critically explore good policy – and the perspectives on what makes good policy can differ greatly.  But it is the differences, when honestly debated, which can produce exceptional results.  Case and point, the Constitution of the United States!

Let us resurrect conversation, and in turn, be vigilant and be free.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stand Together to Fight, Not Weep

Countries around the world turned their lights on when Paris turned the Eiffel Tower lights off, in a show of support for the tragedy that had struck that great city.  This is an incredible show of unity in the fight against terrorism, but this is symbolism and not action.

We stand in solidarity with the French, but we must ask: how can this happen? Why is not the world doing more than condemnation, but eradication?  We should hunt the terrorist, find them and bring them to justice.  Why should a band of some 30,000 people (by some estimates) have a power over the free world – how is it not possible for the world to stop this small band of people?

We should not live in fear of terrorism, especially when we out man and out gun them 200,000 to 1.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day

For those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, we give the utmost thanks.  I am humbled to be protected by such incredible men and women who love this country and serve in our armed forces.

To those who have served, currently are serving, and those that will serve in the future - near or far - you have the respect and love of the American people.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Leadership from Within

Everyone has to lead. 

A democratic republic needs the cornerstone of virtue to flourish. It is not enough for one person to have virtue, society as a whole must be virtuous.

We need better leaders. We must demand better leaders. We must be better leaders.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

An Idea Can Change the World

For those of you that are fans of the movie V for Vendetta, the fifth of November is a day to remember, and certainly the gunpowder treason should not be forgot.

Let the man behind the mask fall away, as he is nothing more than flesh.  Let the idea behind the mask prevail and resonate with you.  Liberty is most precious, and tyranny its antithesis now stands an ever growing foe.  But Liberty is not given, we must take it.

Remember, remember the fifth of November the gunpowder treason and plot; I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

After all, people should not be afraid of their government, government should be afraid of its people.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Neither Presidential nor a Debate

Where do we start? From the fantasy football question to personal attacks by the media moderators of the candidates, how do we term the Republican Presidential “debate” this week in any other phrase than the Urinary Olympics?  It is quite apparent that this debate and those before it are nothing more than a podium for candidates to spout-off campaign slogans and for the media to hurl bias questions.  Even if the question are fair and thoughtful, the most skillful orator with superior intellect would be hard pressed to answer questions of national and international complexity in a sound bite of 30 seconds.

Does anyone have a sound view to know how Donald Trump would govern other than “amazing”?  Marco Rubio is smart, but his leadership on immigration reform failed, what has he learned and how would that influence his governance?  Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina lack any governmental experience, how will they manage a highly contentious environment in D.C.?  These are just some questions that cannot be answered in one minute.  The questions of critical substance of national security, tax, economy, deficit, debt and entitlements must compete against media “darling” questions of abortion, gay rights and gun control that are a distraction to the substantial questions where the nation’s fate hangs in the balance.

CNBC took the farce of the debates to a new level this week, which speaks volumes to why the public does not trust the media, as well as, serves as Exhibit A for the need for each of us to be vigilant.  If we do not demand better as a public and seek out other sources of information to get the whole story, we are left with politicians who pander and a media who plays to their prejudices in a circus like showcase.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nothing is Free

Free healthcare, free welfare, free social security – these are the cornerstone of the entitlement state, ergo, the word entitlement.  Something you get because of a classification government has proscribed to you – sick, poor or retired.

We asked a woman that supported the Affordable Care Act, who covers the cost of the ACA?  She paused, thought a moment, then simply said – I don’t know.  Then it was suggested the government was paying and, in a sigh of relief, she responded affirmatively.  But in the next breath, she was asked where was the government getting its money?  Puzzlement again swept through her.

The point is that all these “free” programs have to be paid for from private taxpayers as – and here is the revelation for some – the government has no money of its own, only that which it taxes from the people and that which it borrows (that also must be paid back by taxing the people).  So, as we write in Vigilance The Price of Liberty, politicians have developed a pay-off scheme to take from some to give to others, with the government comfortably in the middle to take its cut.  Ergo, nothing is free.

More immoral, is the inevitability of political corruption.  What could be done for a dollar in the private sector takes a figurative $10 of waste and fraud in the public sector.  This is immoral because the government coercively takes money from taxpayers to redistribute to tax takers without regard for efficiency or efficacy. 

But what of the mantra that society has a responsibility to care for the poor?  That the problem of the poor is too large for charity alone.  That there is a social injustice when some have too much and others have too little.  Thomas Sowell in his book, Wealth, Poverty and Politics, quotes the economist Henry Hazlitt who wrote of poverty:  “The real problem of poverty is not a problem of “distribution” but of production.  The poor are poor not because something is being withheld from them but because, for whatever reason, they are not producing enough.”


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Talking to a Brick Wall

Talking to a political partisan is like talking to a brick wall.  Someone who chooses to be ignorant and disregards or selectively picks facts and history to those that only support their view.  But partisans are not alone.  Far too many of us have strong conviction about our political beliefs that we disregard fact and logic when engaging in political “discussions” and drawing conclusions.  We have spoken about the substitution of feeling for fact in previous blogs, as well as in our book Vigilance The Price of Liberty, but this problem is so pervasive and destructive to a free society that a light must be shown upon it repeatedly.

Until people cast off the cloak of political correctness and unbridle themselves from beliefs that cannot be adjusted by fact and logic, we will be forced to live in dangerous ignorance as a society.  And the consequence of ignorance is that we will continue to elect bad politicians and incur bad policy that will plague our nation now and for generations to come.

To secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, as our Founders sought to do, we must tear down the brick walls that inhibit honest debate, and become vigilant. 


Sunday, October 11, 2015

The Most Modern Political Thinking

The great philosopher Socrates said “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”  In 1787 a group of men assembled to construct the greatest political document of mankind.  It was the most modern of political thinking that drew upon all the thousands of years of governments before it.  These men realized the greatness the country could attain with the right form of government that would protect individual liberty.

The document they created enabled the country to change the course of the world.  It brought prosperity never before experienced by so many.  It lifted billions of people from abject poverty and the drudgery of daily life to education and free time – a concept largely unheard of.  The people of the country became exceptional and, when given the most powerful military, sought not to use it to conquer but to liberate.  This country is America and its document the Constitution. 

However, most of her citizens consider the Constitution out dated.  Something to be interpreted for “modern” times or just irrelevant.  But since 1787 there has been no successful “modern” political thinking than that expressed in the Constitution.  Political movements of collectivism expressed as socialism, communism and Marxism have all proven insufficient, unsustainable or simply abject failures.  These are the old and past failed political philosophies.

Which is why we question how Americans so often revere the Constitution at the same time they remain ignorant of it?  Why do we let politicians trample upon and disregard the Constitution?  Why do we forsake our civic responsibility and allow ourselves to be played for fools?  Why do we ignore the hundreds of years of history and make the same mistakes?

It was these questions that lead us to write Vigilance The Price of Liberty to help us remember who we are, where we came from, and why we are the last best hope for liberty and prosperity.  Please join us in restoring that document that remains the most modern of political thought and let us not turn back to the failed old ways of despotic collectivism. 


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Flood of Support

In the recent days South Carolina has experienced severe flooding and the efforts to support those that have lost so much has been incredible.  Keep the positive thoughts flowing toward residents of this State and the flood waters flow out.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

"Tear Down This Wall"

The US Vigilance team had the distinct pleasure of meeting Peter Robinson, one of the speech writers behind Ronald Reagan’s famous Berlin Wall speech in 1987.  It was an incredible story of how this speech took form and the road to its delivery by President Reagan.  Mr. Robinson expressed how the President’s words made ideas thinkable and things say-able. 

The idea of the speech was so provocative that some 18 months later the infamous Berlin Wall would fall and the Soviet Union would begin its rapid dissolution.  The greatest experiment in communism crumbled under the weight of liberty and free markets.  The prosperity brought under the U.S. Constitution that enabled each individual freedom of choice proved superior to a despotic system where choices are made by the State.

The mere fact that words can be so powerful should be a testament against political correctness.  If words are the keys to thoughts and discussion, what is the implication for the lack of those words?  We devolve into the Soviet Union.

When you say it, you think it.  When you think it, it becomes reality.  If words become controlled by the State or media, our thoughts become limited and our reality shrinks. 

We must let our thoughts be free as expressed by our words.  We must not let ourselves be subjugated and our expressions confined, punished or suffer retaliation because they were not politically acceptable. 

The words “political correctness” should be an affront to every American.  To make words “political” is by its definition to control us.  Tear down the walls of discourse and tell us what you think – agree or disagree – it is the openness of our discussion that is a barometer to our freedom.  


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Adult and Responsible Versus What?

A political commentator said upon the resignation of John Boehner that Boehner was considered “responsible and adult” in his politics.  But responsible compared to what?  Can a $19 trillion debt, $100 trillion in unfunded entitlements and a government replete with hundreds and billions of dollars in annual waste and fraud be considered responsible and adult?  For that matter, where are the responsible adults of any party that see these items as a problem to tackle.

The fact of the matter is that politicians are all, to some degree, scoundrels whose prime motivation is their election.  The good of the party that supports their election replaces the good of the nation, and the oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution are merely words without deed.

It has been said that a people get the government they deserve.  And until people become vigilant, this kind of “responsible and adult” brand of politician will continue to play us for fools.  Vigilance starts by knowing the powers we, the people, gave to the government as expressed in the Constitution - the “rule book” for governing.  Vigilance continues by being informed and focusing dialogue about those rules.

Join the movement at #bevigilantbefree

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Millennials Feel Manipulated

Young people are apathetic to politics not only because they are distrustful of politicians and the media that covers their antics, but also, in part, because they feel manipulated.  It has become a rather common belief that politicians will say whatever they need to say to get elected.  One could say this desperation for votes is due to the path of a career politician - one who is dependent on the taxpayer dollar and ignorance.  In reality there are multiple factors that have led to this disconcerted feeling of young voters toward the politicians vying for their votes, but that is something that should be a topic for further discussion.

In the meantime, candidates may have trouble just getting Millennials to come to the voting booth, let alone vote for them if they do.  Millennials are an untapped voting resource that candidates need to take special care to impress as this voting group has the potential to swing this election IF they use their voting power.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Price of "Winning"

We often see headlines of “Republicans winning debate over…” or “Democrats winning the fight for…” How about we do away with this partisan poison and focus on the issues of importance.  If public service wasn’t a game of winning and losing, rather abiding by the rules granted to do the public good, maybe we would see the American government change for the better.

Here’s an idea, what if we selected an issue, cataloged what each side wanted, then figured out – within the limits  of governing based on the Constitution – what the government could do to  alleviate the issue with the focus on the nation in the place of scoring political points for their party.

“Winning” a political battle has a price, and that price is paid by the American taxpayers.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

9/11 Boat Lift

Some 14 years ago all eyes were on the Twin Towers.  But in the midst of the horror, heroes arose beyond the emergency responders.  They were just Americans – plain everyday Americans.

In a story little known, a call was sent by the Coast Guard for help to evacuate lower Manhattan, and in minutes over 100 vessels of all sizes rushed to assist.  The overwhelming support to get the people to safety will give you chills of pride.

This video “Boat Lift of 9/11” was the largest sea rescue in modern history, surpassing that in WW II.  It carried about 500,000 people to safety in 9 hours!

This is a testament to true American exceptionalism and should give every viewer real hope that America can survive.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When We Were Not Watching

When we are not vigilant, government and its agencies can run a muck.  Here is an example with what is happening in Oklahoma.  We are not here to tell you what you should think about it, but The Daily Signal presents the information and we encourage you to decide.

Gather the information, render a thoughtful conclusion and discuss.  #bevigilantbefree

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Meritocracy and Outcomes

During this Labor Day weekend our minds are drawn to the drift the country has been pulled into by the media away from free-markets and liberty, to talks of minimum wage and income inequality.  The wrapper of “economic justice” belies its true colors as collective central planning and income redistribution.  In essence, we are being taught that the confiscation of our time, income, money and private property is for our economic well-being and betterment.

Somehow different outcomes have become evidence of unfairness and discrimination, when in actuality it should be expected and embraced.  In free society and free markets you can decide if you want to work in the mail room or the executive office, if you want to work for a company or build a company – YOU make the choice. 

Instead of rushing to stop different outcomes, we should celebrate the difference in outcomes, as these differences represents individual choice.  More importantly, individual choice is, by its definition, freedom. 

In every instance of freedom of choice and free markets, prosperity has thrived.  In every instance of government central planning a uniformity of poverty has been achieved.  Winston Churchill summed these differences when he said “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.”

Why strive to maintain average when Americans were born to stand out.  When government shackles reward then innovation dries-up.  When we are shamed out of success then instead of a growing economy we have a slow or no growth economy. 

Let us rejoice in the rewards of labor and risk and the returns of a meritocracy.  Let each man choose his own destiny and path to happiness.  Let liberty survive and prosperity thrive.  Let the discussion continue!  


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

3, 2, 1

With a collective lack of vigilance we have let parties run our government, rather than the people.  If one party “rules” over 2 branches, the 3 branches become 1 partisan machine.

Break the trend, become vigilant #bevigilantbefree

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Donald: Breaker of Chains - Part II

Politicians spew vitriol at each other while pandering and lying to voters.  It is no surprise that politicians are held in low esteem.  The Donald however, has succeeded to engage people’s anger at politicians and government.  He has blown through political correctness and makes people feel free.  That is, he is someone who says non-pc words then will not apologize – that makes him come across candid and honest.  Whether or not he is.

Political pundits keep deriding him and await his flame-out.  But the pundits have failed to realize what is going on.  The more they deride Trump the more the voters like him.  The correlation is that Trump has provided voters a way to express their resentment of politicians and media. 

So when will Trump devolve?  Or maybe the better question is, when will the public do something unexpected?  Answer: when they feel empowered, and The Donald is giving voters a sense of empowerment.  By deriding politicians as stupid, by telling people that he can change what they hate so much about government – incompetence and waste - The Donald is bringing voice to the frustrations of the many Americans.

The Donald not only appeals to angry Republicans, but reaches out toward Democrats who lean toward big government. He has not said that he would dismantle big government, but that he would simply manage it better.  So The Donald is 2-mints-in-1.

Are voters just shouting a message to politicians through The Donald that they are fed-up with business as usual, or is The Donald a representative of the voters?  It is too early to know, but for now The Donald has brought more eyes to politics very early in an election cycle.  Whatever you think of him, the attention to politics is what we view as the path toward a vigilant public. 


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hope for Education

The Daily Signal reports today on the research they conducted on the school system in New Orleans – a comparison before and after Katrina devastated the city.  The results are interesting and worth a discussion as knowledge is the corner stone of vigilance, and vigilance the corner stone of liberty.

Click here to read the article from The Daily Signal.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Iran Deal...Who Do You Trust?

The Iran deal is a start to which the president should be commended.  But it is a place to begin a negotiation, not end it.  The U.S. has negotiated as if it were in a position of weakness.  In poker terms, the president was holding 4 aces but feared Iran holding a pair of twos.  From Mr. Obama’s perspective, it is this deal or war, and this president is ideologically bound not to go to war.  Therefore, he folded with 4 aces in hand.

But this choice is false and faulty.  False because it is not a digital decision of one or the other.  We fought a 45 year Cold War with the former Soviet Union.  It was indirect involving economic, political, technological, diplomatic and covert operations.  In the end it crushed the Soviet Union.  It showcased the power of freedom and free market prosperity over socialism, communism and central controlled stateism.

Second, the choice is faulty, as the deal is woefully short of enforcement capacity and plagued with bad faith by all sides.  In the former, a friend of mine made an excellent analysis, saying verification inspections depend on three things:  access, resources and timing. He continued that Iran is twice the size of California and while we may know about many nuclear sites, we cannot know all of their weapons program facilities; some certain to be buried in mountains.  So, then how do we accomplish effective inspections? How many resources would it take? Do we have them? Then there’s the sheer logistics of access. Do we have the equipment to get where we need to go at the right time without telegraphing our intentions?

The president has assured us of inspections as necessary and when necessary.  But the matter is uncertain at best as it falls to the U.N., not the U.S., to do inspections and we have since learned there is a side agreement on inspections outside the negotiated nuclear deal.  So what confidence can we ultimately have?  The president tells us that if there is any dispute to inspections it will be resolved in 24 days – but maybe not.  According to the deal the time period “to resolve the issue . . . [can be] extended by consensus.”  How many times during the negotiations have we seen deadlines come and go.  There can be no certainty that any agreement will be resolved expediently and any violation can be given sufficient time for cover-up.

Again, my friend noted that the cornerstone of any business deal is, “good faith”.  That is, the determination made from both sides that an agreement serves their mutual interests and therefore will be honored. He goes on to say, on what basis would the U.S. negotiator’s having “zero” experience in business negotiations suddenly have the acumen to negotiate the toughest deal imaginable? And with Iranians that have a proven history of wishing us ill and make no bones about their intentions to continue doing so.  He concludes by saying the theory seems to be that if we’re magnanimous and gracious they’ll change their behavior. We have to ask, how likely is this?

We have done a 180 in our stance on a nuclear Iran.  From candidate Obama’s words of no nuclear Iran, to his assurance of inspections any time anywhere, to now acknowledging and sanctioning the Iran nuclear program thus enabling them to keep and advance their nuclear infrastructure and to the installation of a time line for them to become fully nuclear.  Rather than taking some $150 billion in frozen Iranian assets to pay reparations, the deal turns this cash back to Iran and economically enables them to maintain a despotic regime, develop ballistic missiles that could reach U.S. soil and expand terrorism.  Even if Iran lived to the letter of the deal, they would have nuclear weapons in as little as 10 years.

Iranian’s strategic agenda is to have nuclear weapons to intimidate their neighbors and dominate the region.  It doesn’t matter to them if it takes a decade. The Middle East is a region that has been ruled by dictators, pharos and tribal lords for thousands of years.  Muslims have waged war in the Middle East and Europe since the 7th century.  We are ignorant to think 10 years is a long time and we will somehow bring them into the western way of thinking that they so despise.

We are suffering from the mistakes made by President Carter in the late 1970’s that set this all in motion. We are reliving the policy of appeasement that lead Europe to WW II.  As such, we say with absolute certainty that Iran will violate the agreement.  Absolute, because it is the inescapable nature of man.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  In all of recorded history this has been consistent.  All tyrants display the same traits and we can expect, with certainty, the same from any despotic regime. 

For this singular reason the deal with Iran is certain to fail in a terrible way.  Compounding this certitude is a president who will - and has proven - to lie about this deal as he has done on almost all other major policy issues.  We can count on the Iranians to lie, and with great sadness, we can count on our president to do the same because “If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's The Real Issue?

Whatever side of the political isle you are on, would you vote for someone who has purposefully taken measures to deceive those he or she serves?  Forget that this is Mrs. Clinton, just think if you were an employer and your employee started taking accounts under the name of your business but without you knowing anything or having any records.

It’s time to evaluate candidates not based on what political party they are backed by or the slogans they push, but on the real issues.  Let’s get down to what really matters, like policy ideas and positions on national concerns.  If you were given resumes and stances on policy issues from each candidate, but without name or party affiliation, would you rethink your preferred choice?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Donald: Breaker of Chains

Whether or not you agree with Mr. Trump is of no concern.  The fact that he not only speaks without regard to political correctness but, more importantly, does not apologize for his “offense” makes him a breaker of the politically correct chains that have bound our society.

We have been shrouded with a cloak of sensitivity that has begun to suck the oxygen from the fire of truly free speech that once stood corner stone to our liberty.  So let us follow suit and break through the chains and resurrect honest debate for the betterment of our country and continued prosperity of the greatest nation.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

How Do We Get People Involved?

With a public that is largely distrustful of politicians and the media, and disenchanted with their political games, how do we engage the American public on the issues of today? 

As mentioned in last week’s blog, vigilance needs to spread from the minority in this country and become the majority.  Millennials especially need to become vigilant as we are the generation that must set in motion the necessary changes to save our country.  We define vigilance in four steps in our book Vigilance The Price of Liberty:
  1. Learning the Constitution
  2. Keeping informed of political events from multiple sources of different perspective
  3. Independently find the facts, and
  4. Make your thoughts known to politicians by constant communication with them, organizing groups, and voting.

Let’s put vigilance into motion and open the necessary dialogues. #bevigilantbefree

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Knowledge is Power in Numbers

We recently posed a brief quiz based on the set of 4 questions asked when writing our book Vigilance The Price of Liberty and the responses were consistent and interesting.  The great majority of people surveyed believe the Constitution grants them rights.  This perspective is understandable as media, educators and constitutional scholars make constant reference to our “constitutional rights.”  But let us read the First Amendment of the Constitution:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Does this read at all as if the government is granting you any rights?  Just look at the first five words: “Congress shall make no law”.  The Bill of Rights of the Constitution is actually negative covenants against the government from usurping those rights that are considered absolute to an individual’s freedom.  And, for emphasis, note the predator to freedom is the government.

We have written on this subject before, but it is so critical to understand that we must continually address it until the few who have this knowledge become the many.  And when that happens, a vigilant majority can demand a well-managed government that ensures the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity.

Visit our website to link to the Constitution to read for yourself and join the “Be Vigilant. Be Free” movement! #bevigilantbbefree

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How Our Knowledge of the Past Shapes Our Future

When writing our book Vigilance the Price of Liberty we asked people a set of four questions about the Constitution.  What was uncovered was a collective lack of knowledge about our founding document and dismay in that lack of knowledge.

It is said that knowledge is power, but let us take that one step further: knowledge is power in numbers.  It is not enough for a few people to be vigilant; the vigilant must become the majority of this nation to ensure our freedom.

Let’s see what you know about our founding document on this take of the set of four questions!  Take the quiz via the link below and we will reveal the results in our next blog.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Highway Robbery

The Constitution gives Congress the power to establish Post Offices and Post Roads.  In 1787 this was considered an essential duty of the federal government and for some 100 years the post office system and its connecting roadways were vital for the nation.  Much of this was the basis for what would become our roadways.  Then during WW II, General Eisenhower, saw the military advantage of Germany’s Autobahn, and when Eisenhower became president he and Congress initiated the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways in 1956 and established the Highway Trust Fund.  The Trust Fund is an excise tax on gas of 18.4 cents per gallon.  Whether post road or military highway, both are authorized under the Constitution.  But as most things political in the past 80 years, the Highway Trust Fund has fallen prey to political corruption and grown well beyond its intent or constitutional boundary.

Now under the Department of Transportation (DOT) the Fund is used for all manner of political spending.  As we write in Vigilance The Price of Liberty, the DOT budget includes $32 billion over six years for Transportation Leadership Awards that, according to the 2012 budget, is a “competitive grant program designed to create incentives for State and local partners to adopt critical reforms in a variety of areas, including safety, livability, and demand management. . . for example, passing measures to prevent distracted driving (safety) or modify­ing transportation plans to include mass transit, bike, and pedestrian options (livability)”.  This program has no relation to constitutional authorities of post roads or defense and is part of the reason politicians spend more money than is taken in tax revenue.

According to a 2014 study by the Eno Center for Transportation, since 1991 Congress and presidents have violated the principle that the fund should be zero sum; i.e. not to spend less or more than the revenues taken in.  Unrelated money has run in and out of the Fund.  In the 1990s money was removed for deficit reduction and, according to the Wall Street Journal article, “Mad Tax Fury Road” since 2005, some $65 billion have been transferred from the General Fund to make-up the Highway Trust Fund’s short-fall. 

Based on CBO figures, the Highway and Transit accounts take in some $40 billion per year or $240 billion over six years.  However, this amount is insufficient for politicians – of both parties.  All this money, and we have yet to address the issues of politicians and bureaucrats deciding how to spend the money, which is often replete with waste and fraud that is endemic to government projects.

As Congress fights over funding the Trust Fund – with gimmicks like using a revenue projection of 10 years to fund 3 years of spending – the Fund depicts everything bad about government, politics and politicians.  It has had successive Congresses and presidents disregard the Constitution, to collect money from taxpayers to be spent on projects that are unconstitutional then, to add insult to injury, to irresponsibly spend more than is taken and leave the nation in greater debt.  This is highway robbery.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rejecting Victim-hood

 There seems to be a perception in society today that you must be damaged – you must be a victim in some way - otherwise you are an oppressor.  It is almost looked down upon to be a child who is part of a conventional family, raised by a loving mother and father who are still married, and has been fortunate to receive a good education and opportunities.

In the 1950’s people strove to achieve the American dream, which many perceived to encompass getting married, starting a family, buying a home and having a steady job.  People who took risks and achieved success where held in esteem.  Happiness was left to each individual’s choice, be it truck driver, doctor, entrepreneur or engineer.

The 1950’s version of the American dream is now depicted by some as that of racist white privilege that should be replaced by victim-hood.  Pity transcends pride and retribution for the past wrongs replaces individual achievement.

Why is it that when you achieve success that had its roots from love, family and opportunity that you should be discontent?  That somehow your success was only made possible on the backs of the oppressed.

Despite much political rhetoric to the contrary, America is still the most open, tolerant, fair, free and prosperous nation on the planet and in all of recorded history.  Let us reject the voices that declare victory for victim-hood and rejoice that, today, we still can dream our tomorrow and make it a reality.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Monopolies Are Bad

There is a consensus that monopolies are bad, but why?  Because it limits choice, inflates prices, depresses wages and, most important, it operates against the foundation of a free society: you get only that which the monopoly decides to give you.  Ergo, we have anti-trust laws that are intended to limit the consolidation in an industry so that there is sufficient competition to assure free and healthy markets. So if monopolies are “bad” then why does government create or support monopolies?

The fact is, the government neither likes nor understands free markets or competition because the government is itself a monopoly.  It is far more difficult for government to regulate a myriad of free market competing companies than one or a few dominant companies.

Let’s look at two examples of industries targeted by the government.  First, the financial sector.  Prior to the 2008 recession, the five largest banks had assets equal to 43% of the GDP, but five years later these banks assets grew to 56% (source: Bloomberg).  This despite the declaration by President Obama to eliminate the danger posed by financial institutions that are “too big to fail.”  Government forced consolidations and expanded regulations so that the largest banks grew larger and, with it, consumers have seen less choice and access to credit.

Next, the healthcare market.  The government today controls the healthcare payer and provider markets as it accounts for some 50% of the entire industry.  Therefore, government either directly or indirectly controls healthcare.  Under the Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare) healthcare premiums have risen by double digits, consumers have limited doctor networks and many consumers are being forced into health insurance they neither want nor can afford.  The monopoly concept of one-size-fits-all is in plain sight with government mandates for maternity coverage – even if you are an 88 year old women.  Or consider the VA, which at one time President Obama touted as the model for universal healthcare.  Here veterans are literally dying while waiting to see a physician.

Government has vital a role to play in free-markets, but when government takes too large a role then we get what we have had for the past six years – slow growth and high unemployment and under-employment.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

3 Reasons Why You Won't Have a Job When You Graduate

1. Paid Internships

This has kept you from internships since some States now require companies to pay their interns which discourages taking on interns – when in reality you just want the experience

2. ObamaCare

The new work week is 30 hours – there are no full time jobs

3. Your Degree

Let’s be real, you wanted to party – but hey, memories are priceless

But if you are lucky enough to get a job, guess what? You’re living at home thanks to crushing debt – you can thank government Intervention on Student Loans

You did the responsible thing and took out student loans to go to college, but did you realize how high your interest rate was?  Government intervention on student loans has driven up interest rates and you are now left trying to find a job that will at least cover your monthly payment, but jokes on you because the salary you need isn’t attainable at that entry level position you are most likely to get since you couldn’t get the work experience during college.