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.