Sunday, December 10, 2017

Liberal Triad

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand called for the resignation of Senator Al Franken saying “we need to draw a line in the sand and say [no sexual harassment] is acceptable . . . we as elected leaders . . . should be fundamentally valuing women.”  With the righteous sword of justice in her hand, Gillibrand saw fit to stab Franken.  Curious though how Gillibrand’s hand had no such moral compass when it came to the Clintons who, for many years, have supported her campaigns.

It is a wonder how sexual harassment has spontaneously combusted.  We postulate this is part of the movement toward liberal utopia, where elites rule.  In this land no one has too much, only the elite.  Life’s strife is melted by the fair hand of government.  Crass consumerism gives way to what’s needed vs. what’s wanted.  We are now in Phase II of the liberal triad.

Ah, but you ask what is the triad?  Simply stated it is racism, maternalism, and communism.

Racism, is the foundation that provides liberals moral and intellectual justification.  Maternalism is a world run by women (vs. paternalism a world run by men) that ensures a woman’s nurturing instincts will breed peaceful coexistence.  And, communism is the economic and political structure that rations what people receive and secures power for elites.

Upon the election of President Barak Obama, one would imagine that liberals would have taken a bow.  In their minds, they transformed a nation with a deplorable past of slavery and elevated it to elect a biracial president.  For a moment it appeared we had achieved a post racial society and liberals could now tend to global warming, gay marriage, and income inequality.

But those other items brought no moral superiority.  There just weren’t enough folk who saw global warming a priority and too many didn’t believe that man was the primary source.  Gay marriage was quickly embraced, and the issue was over.  Income inequality didn’t register in a land where freedom of opportunity, by its nature, breeds inequality.  So liberals responded by resurrecting racism.  Only now it would be permanent and Obama would put his stamp on it by declaring that racism was in Americans’ DNA.

Racism made liberals morally superior, which was then conflated to be intellectually superior.  The latter means they never have to explain or justify a position.  Branding you – the opposition - a racist is sufficient fact, conclusion, and verdict.  As such, with Obama in office, liberals white washed all Americans who did not agree with the president as racists and resurrected the scourge of past slavery with vengeance.

With racism reestablished, the movement is now toward maternalism.  The time is ripe, as there are no powerful Democrats, a la Bill Clinton, that need protecting.  With the road clear, sexual harassment can now be politically weaponized.

The Democrats at first hesitated to “eat their own”, but the calculus changed when President Trump backed Roy Moore.  Congressman John Conyers and Senator Al Franken were irrelevant politicians to be sacrificed in the name of women and the elevation of Democrats to the moral high ground.

While it may be shrewd politics, this is a dangerous situation of conviction by allegation.  Merely complimenting a woman can become grounds for misconduct and removal.  But, as one-woman feminist said on the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, “if some men get wrongly blamed that’s OK, it’s a small price for the decades of abuse women had to endure.”  However, this attitude is opposed to how justice works.

Judge Roy Moore is no saint.  But did he molest underage girls?  From a jurisprudence stand point, he is innocent until held guilty by a jury of his peers.  If we deviate from this, then anyone can be blackmailed into a discordant act.

If sexual abuse abounds for women, why have so many women risen beyond it?  In Hollywood, of all places, think Mary Tyler Moore, Oprah, and Tina Turner.  Then there are Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg, CEO of HP Meg Whitman, or Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.  All these women in high places has nothing to do with their gender.  They are just good at what they do, and in a free society individuals can rise to their level of talent and ambition.

Sexual harassment can be real, demeaning, and at the extremes criminal.  But allegations are unproven accusations.  Permitting the media to act as judge of whether an allegation is credible and then proceeding to trial by social media, is a path that will eviscerate centuries of established due process for justice in a free society.  

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Lois Lerner – The Gift That Keeps Giving

When hundreds of conservative political groups were targeted by the IRS, preventing their formation during the 2012 election, the opposition to the election of President Obama was blunted.  Lois Lerner was at point in this dubious effort.  Her punishment: a “well earned” retirement with full benefits after decades of loyal public service.  Lois can now fade into the sunset at the taxpayer’s expense.

But not so fast.  Lerner is back to argue that the closed-door testimony she gave should not be made public because she could be exposed to grave bodily harm if it were.

So how is it that a woman who famously told us that she did nothing wrong – after, of course, pleading the 5th.  Maybe folk in her department were a bit zealous but, as President Obama stated, there wasn’t a “smidgen” of corruption.  So how do we square Mrs. Lerner to the threat of grave bodily harm?  We can’t because, most likely, both positions are false.

It is far beyond time that taxpayers have light shed on what happened behind the IRS Curtain, the deeds that were done, the finger pointed to the guilty, and maybe, just maybe, some justice dispensed.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Real Tax Reform

The GOP crows its tax reform plan of $1.5 trillion over a decade.  Sound large?  Not really.  Over the same period of time the federal government will spend some $53 trillion.  Or, to put this in perspective, the tax plan is less than 3% of total spending.  Also note, the government will run up another $10 trillion of debt on top of the $20 trillion of debt that already exists.

Real tax reform needs to come from real spending reform.  A man who has been a CFO of two major corporations remarked that any CFO worth his salt can find ways to cut spending 5% before the morning’s coffee - and that is in a healthy corporation.  That percentage jumps to 20% without having to make any hard decisions when the attention is turned an inefficient, ineffective, and wasteful government.

Now 20% on $53 trillion is nearly $11 trillion . . . or close to 10 times the number proposed by the GOP.  Now that would be real tax reform that would put real money in people’s pockets, and towards the repayment of the debt.

The call to action here is to contact your representatives to tell them $1.5 trillion is a good down payment, and then to proceed to real tax reform!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

North Korea Prospects – Diplomacy with Strength

At the end of October, Abraham Sofaer, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, gave a lucid presentation about the North Korean threat.  The good news is the war of words between Kim Jong-un and President Donald Trump is just that – words.  Sofaer recounted a history of words between the countries for the past 50 years.  If actual war was in the wind, he continued, so would be its characteristics of recalling American personnel overseas and the building of armed forces, which has not yet happened.

Sofaer then went on to say that the only “acceptable” resolution is diplomacy, which can only be brought about by a combination of extreme economic sanctions, deals with North Korea and China, and a large buildup of nuclear and anti-nuclear technology surrounding North Korea.  This three prong approach constrains North Korea into a mindset for meaningful talks.

The bad news is that the level of cost, diplomacy, deals, and secrecy may be beyond our government.  The weak link in this chain is secrecy, as the bitter hatred of Trump from within, and the media from without could frustrate the sensitive and secret talks that must take place if a sound agreement that protects the peace is to be reached.

Sofaer noted that secret talks have frustrated all modern presidents but it can be done noting a case-in-point with Henry Kissinger.

There is a path forward with North Korea that is defined and practical, but it will be challenging.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

For the Love of the Game

We normally do not like to mix politics with football, but it seems to be the fashion these days. Many discuss the disrespect of the American flag or civil rights statement, depending on your view of the statement of players taking a knee during the National Anthem.  However, I think most fans would agree that it is not so much the political statement itself that caused all sorts of emotions, it’s the fact that the love of the game and the experience of the sport has been impeded on.

Football games are truly an American experience. We make games into an event and follow and support our teams as a form of religion. We eat and drink our fill, enter the stadiums or turn on the channel to watch the opening ceremonies. We watch our team run out onto the field and the singing of the National Anthem. This is America and we take pride and enjoyment out of that unique experience.

The players, as all of us, have many forums to express their political views. But when players make the opening ceremony of this American experience into a political forum, they deface the beauty for which many come to watch.  They intrude on our tranquility and hurt us with their disrespect.

Let the player’s voices be heard if they so choose, and shall no action be taken against them personally for political expression.  But let too, free men and free markets exercise free will.  For some of us, the game is no longer worth watching.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Divided? Not!

The media has reveled in proclaiming and stoking the fires of a divided America, where racists and the racial divide has never been wider.  Really?  Take a look at what really happened when hurricane Harvey hit Texas.  While CNN and MSNBC found political foils, the rest of the country, beyond the costal elites, did what Americans do – helped their neighbors.

Let me share a story.  My dad and I had left California to drive to Boston on Monday, August 28th.  Our trip took us through Missouri where we would stop at a Cracker Barrel restaurant just off the freeway for breakfast.  There, our waitress, Marilyn, came over to take our order.  It was early in the morning and Marilyn, with her dark grey hair and weathered skin, looked tired as she approached us.  We would greet her with our warm smiles and, with cheer in our voices, a hearty good morning and asked her how she was.

Marilyn’s demeanor immediately changed to a grin and a glow of thanks for bringing sunshine in what is routine.  She asked us if we were local.  We said that we were traveling through when she interrupted to ask if we were heading to Texas. Marilyn said that most folk that were stopping at the restaurant that were traveling through were heading to Texas to help the people affected by the hurricane.  She continued that she and her daughter were gathering all the clothes and food they could find to send to Texas.  We spoke a bit more, then Marilyn hurried off to get us coffee.

Marilyn and all the people “traveling through” are America.  No talk of any divide, just compassion.  No care who is in trouble, just ready to help.  Marilyn struggles to make a living yet will, literally, give you the shirt off her back.

It appears we’re all Americans!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Tell Them What to Think

It was last Tuesday on MSNBC political commentary show, Hardball, left leaning host, Chris Matthews, opined that leaders should tell people what to think.

Politics on the Left (and Right is not without guilt) has this aversion to individual thought because it is not conducive for reelection.  This says it all about liberal dialogue, there is none.  Take what we tell you or face the consequence.  Leaders like Kim Jung Un tell their people what to think.  In America our politicians are not our leaders because we are self-governing.  In America political thought is developed not dictated.

We cannot let dialogue be ordered to conformity.  The Left is increasingly frustrated that too many American’s are not abiding by “their” ways.  It is not a matter for debate, it is a matter of obedience.  They believe they are uniquely qualified to judge what the moral right is and have the intellectual honesty to know what is best.  Therefore, without further discussion, it is time for the rest of us to listen, learn, and fall in line….OR become vigilant, think independently, have reasoned debate, and actively engage in self-governance.

Be Vigilant. Be Free.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Demanding Better Discourse

We are a country obsessed with drama and can't seem to stand for a slow news day. If it is not what President Donald Trump has said, it is what he didn’t say. If it is not what the current administration did, it is what they didn’t do. And the same patterns run through each political party, each decision made, each action taken.

Politics is about power.  For one side to “win” the other must “lose”.  It is all about scoring political points as tallied by the media.  Speaker Paul Ryan said his first job is the reelection of his members and the control of the House.  That is his first job?  Not good public policy within good constitutional order?

We demand that our political bodies come together to agree on some compromise to better the country, yet we stand outside the walls of Congress and partake in the same argumentative manner which is then inflated and furthered by the overly dramatic and terribly partisan media coverage.

How can we demand better from our government if we are acting no better ourselves? We should strive to embody the character and manner that we ask for in our government representatives.  And they should strive to do better for the public good.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Republicans with One Foot in the Grave

For the past eight years Republicans have howled that if they only could control the House, Senate, and Executive branches, they could repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, overhaul the tax code, reduce the regulatory state, restore order to the Middle East, confront China and North Korea, and get the budget deficits under control.  Well that “dog caught the car” and for the first six months Republican are far afield from their promises.

Differences of policy thought within the party are healthy but, in the end, policy has to be enacted and promises kept.  Obamacare repeal/replace has been a disaster, Dodd-Frank some tooling at the edges, regulatory reform some, tax reform not started, Middle East and China good start then stalled, North Korea no start, and budget control a non-starter.

The Republican Party has no appearance of a single party, rather it seems to be filled with representatives that are (now called) moderates who seem to embrace some Democrat policies and conservatives who refuse to make incremental gains in policy.

With the second failure to repeal and replace Obamacare and incessant inability to agree on legislation, the Republican base will be demotivated to turn-out in 2018, regardless of the state of the economy.  However, the Democrat voting base is highly motivated.  What will be left is one, if not both, houses of Congress in the hands of the Democrats and a Republican President with no allies in either.  If the second half of this year proves no better legislatively for Republicans than the first half, Republicans will have found themselves with one foot in the political grave come 2018 election time.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Al Gore...He's Back!

With the release of Al Gore’s sequel to, An Inconvenient Truth, we thought it noteworthy to discuss, well, science.  According to far left MSNBC commentator Chris Hayes, on his show, All In With Chris Hayes, the debate is “over” on climate change as 97% of scientists agree on man-made climate change.  Hayes leaves no doubt that this is 97% of all “credible” scientists; i.e. any disagreement is for those not credible.

Now, there may very well be a material and measurable influence of man’s activities on global warming and climate, but real science requires proof of this hypothesis, not name calling or legal action to prevent those who disagree from speaking.

Proving Einstein’s theories required brilliant and extremely accurate experiments to measure the predictions that Einstein’s equations proposed.  Only when there was independent verification of the accuracy of predictions did we believe the science behind the theories.  We do not have this when it comes to climate change.

Chart 1 below shows temperature fluctuation over the past million years.  For the particular latitude indicated on the chart, there are wide swings.  The last uptick began about 10,000 years ago when the best man could muster was barely a camp fire.  However, we are now asked to believe that the only cause of global warming is man. Yet, if all these dramatic swings occurred without man, then to what degree is man causing them now?

Climate debate is welcomed, as we are the stewards of the planet and should keep it in good stead.  Our course must be with reasoned and fact based discussions remembering that when we ask for public policy, that it must be well defined and limited.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Freedom: Our Most Precious National Treasure

We have spoken on the idea of freedom time and time again. In the research of our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, among the questions asked to people of different backgrounds, gender and socio-economic levels, was "what is liberty?". All had a common definition that liberty was the freedom to choose. This concept of liberty and freedom is abstract, but not for Vice Admiral James Stockdale.  He was a prisoner of war for eight years in Hanoi, Vietnam after being shot down in September of 1965.

In the years following his release, Vice Admiral Stockdale did much writing and speeches in regards to his experience as a POW.  An article titled Freedom: Our Most Precious National Treasure (the title used for this blog), was published by Parade Publications, Inc. on June 29, 1980. Vice Admiral Stockdale reflects on the average American who experiences freedom as an abstraction, while he, after spending time in a prison without such freedom, grew to understand freedom having a "delicious and tangible" meaning.

Below is an excerpt of the article that we hope will bring light to freedom to make its value more an appreciated and dear gift, rather than an unchallenged entitlement.

[M]y appreciation of its [freedoms] preciousness stems from a first-hand understanding of its rarity. The void of freedom in other parts of the world - and particularly the passivity with which this lack is accepted - is staggering to a man who is born and raised free. In my Hanoi cell, I found myself daily picking up shocking signals in that milieu of deadened sensitivities. Like these:

-The routine feedlot attitude of the simple peasant guards who delivered daily food rations down the line to cooped-up humans, fowl and livestock, with expressionless unconcern for the continual darkness, suffocating closeness, and isolation in which the chickens, pigs and men were confined.
-The continuous barking of loudspeakers on the street telling the people of Hanoi what to think. 
-The pathetic ignorance behind outburst of a prominent political cadre who shouted to me in a moment of exasperation: "We may not have freedom, but after 4000 years we have order, and we will settle for that."

We, as Americans, should not settle for ‘order’. We, as Americans, must fight to keep our freedom and ensure that sweet liberty for our posterity.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I the Politician

"We the People" are the words that begin our Constitution and signifies the government deriving its limited power from that granted by the People. So how has it become “we the people" who seem serving of the politicians?  The wording of the Constitution has not changed, yet the twisting of its words have left our political system revolving about power-hungry politicians.

We were a country born of great men. Men that put the will of the people and the good of the newborn nation before their own. Debate was for the purpose of finding resolve and extracting the best possible solution.  Leadership was not a prize to be won, but a duty if so conferred by the people. So how did we become a nation led by self-serving politicians whose goal is gaining and retaining power?  Where public policy is merely a pawn to score political points in the battle to be elected?

We elect what we deserve, thus, as we have said many times before, we must demand better of our elected officials. Our taxes should not fill hollow promises and programs of generational theft, but rather put towards effective and efficient policies that promote the public good and not a politician’s election. 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Race Grievance Industry

Bob Woodson is a black man who was a civil rights pioneer.  As president and founder of the Woodson Center, he argues that today’s violent protests from the Left defame the legacy of the civil rights movement that they purport to revere and defend. His short interview on Fox News, Tucker Carlson Tonight, which aired on July 7th, provides insightful commentary.  He highlights that the civil rights movement of the 60's promoted inclusion vs. modern protests that promote the opposite.  A most worthwhile interview to see. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Shame of Charity

There are roughly 74 million people on Medicaid - some 23% of the population.  Medicaid is supposed to be a safety-net program for poor women, children and disabled but, under the Affordable Care Act, it has been the dumping ground for the able-body to gain medical insurance.

Medicaid had 4 million enrollees when launched in 1966.  Since then, the population has grown 63%, while Medicaid enrollment has grown 1,738%.  How can this be?  Have Americans’ dependence upon government been growing at an accelerating rate?  So much so that today that 1 in 4 cannot provide medical insurance for themselves or their families? No.  The answer lies in the transfer from those that do, to those that do not, couched first as compassion and later as a life style.

Left-leaning political commentator, William Galston, wrote in the Wall Street Journal Opinion section on June 28th regarding the Senate Republican proposed healthcare legislation that cutting “public support for health care by $1.2 trillion over the next decade means depriving vast numbers of Americans of health security.” For Galston this means “people would be forced to rely on the kindness of strangers.” In Galston’s view, voluntary charity from strangers is antithetical to coercively taxing strangers to take from those that can take care of themselves and give to those who either cannot or chose not to care for themselves.

For collectivists like Galston, the purpose of welfare is not a temporary helping hand, but about a wealth transfer from the few to the many.  After all, collectivists are, by nature, collective.  It is about the many and not the individual, who need be relegated to a larger purpose. 

The Democrats gave the nation Obamacare, and the Republicans have shown, so far, little to materially change toward free-market healthcare.  The measurable difference between the two party’s plans is that the Republicans throw less federal taxpayer money at Medicaid than Democrats.  However, the basic underlying notions of actuarial sanity and free market forces that drive the price dynamics, quality, and availability remain largely absent.

There is pride and self-satisfaction in earning one’s living and pursuing happiness as each individual dreams.  It is the cold and grey world of tyranny when government and political elites rally to conform people to dependence on government.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Does Anyone Remember Ray Donovan?

Raymond Donovan is a business man and former Secretary of Labor from 1981 to 1985 under President Ronald Reagan.  Through Donovan’s leadership, the department’s staff and budget was reduced, regulatory relief was given to businesses via changes made to the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) enforcement practices, new industrial home work rules were created, and the Davis-Bacon rules revised, as well as revision of the federal compliance regulations.  However, it was his comment after the verdict in his 1987 trial that made him famous.

As chronicled in, Donovan was in the construction business.  He was executive vice president and 40% owner of Schiavone Construction of New Jersey. No sooner than Donovan was confirmed as Labor Secretary in 1981, when Time Magazine reported that he was mentioned in an FBI wiretap of an alleged mobster who did subcontract work for Schiavone.  Shortly after, the FBI said that a labor union official, in 1977, witnessed a $2,000 payoff by Schiavone to another union official.  Then Attorney General William Smith, asked for an investigation of Donovan and attorney Leon Silverman was named as special prosecutor under the Ethics in Government Act.

In May, 1982 Donovan was in front of a New York grand jury.  In June, 1982 the Washington Post reported Schiavone Construction was linked to the Genovese crime family.  However, that month, the Silverman commission cited 'insufficient credible evidence' and cleared Donovan.  At this point, a reasonable man might think the controversy was over…but, in politics, the facts can be irrelevant.

A year later the Bronx District Attorney investigated Schiavone Construction.  Donovan with seven executives were indicted on charges of grand larceny.  The legal wrangling and trial took years, but in 1987, Donovan and his seven co-defendants were acquitted of all charges.  Following the trial, Donovan famously remarks "Which [government] office do I go to to get my reputation back?”

These sort of accusations facilitated by a media with partisan interest make for good political theater and media profits.  Scandals can be created with innuendo and investigation conjured without proof.  However, the story is not that Mr. Donovan was found innocent or accusations investigated were not credible.  It was how political enemies with media allies can colluded to use insinuation for fact in a witch hunt against Mr. Donovan.  Sound familiar?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Comey & Collusion

The political theater this week surrounding the testimony of former FBI Director James Comey, while providing some clarity that benefits President Trump, established that the Left media will not let Trump, collusion, and Russia leave their sights for the next four years.  What seemed to be cemented by the media following this testimony was a political media dogma that “analyzed” Trump lied, Trump isn’t under investigation “yet”, Russia hacked the election, we need further investigation on collusion, and Comey is a stand-up guy.

The sophistry of the Left and their bogeyman of Russia is wicked and is the true collusion that now infects the press.  The collusion that now exists to defame and degrade the President is between the Left and its liberal media counterpart.  In a Harvard study the unfavorable coverage of Trump in his first 100 days was over 90% of the articles where George W Bush was 67% and Barack Obama was 40%.

The media is fanning the flames for impeachment and has become part of the Democratic Party’s “resistance” to assure there is no legislation toward prosperity.  It is one thing to be the loyal opposition and still work with the other party to bend legislation, it is quite another when a major political party and the bulk of the press are in league to overthrow an election.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stay Safe

Our hearts and thoughts this Sunday go out to those affected by the recent terrible terrorist attacks in the UK.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Why Do We Remember?

The Framers of the Constitution – both federalist and anti-federalists – were suspicious of a standing army. They feared the potential of such to be used against the citizens to enforce unjust laws.  As such, the Constitution had protections to check against the military.  Specifically, a civilian, the President, would be the Commander, but only the Congress could declare war and the Congress had the discretion to fund the military every two years.

Most remarkably, since the ratification of the Constitution, the military has never broken its trust with the people.  They have subjugated themselves and reported to a civilian power.  They have obeyed elected politicians whether the interventions were arguably just or unjust.

Unlike the politicians they serve, whose oath to protect and defend the Constitution are regularly abused, the military, with ultimate power on the planet, has never wavered from its oath.

With respect and admiration, US Vigilance remembers those that have given their lives in service, those that have served, and those that serve.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Public Policy: The Pawn of Politics

Politicians have been stripped bare of any pretense of doing good public policy.  Good has nothing to do with it.  Being elected is the end goal of any political effort, and public policy is the pawn to the goal.  Public policy is to be used not for good, but to dupe a Gerrymandered base into voting for a man rather than a thoughtful process.

In an interview, House Speaker, Paul Ryan, said that his first priority was to assure the reelection of his Republican members and to retain control of the House.  Really?  We were under the impression that the priority was good public policy and an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.  After all, why get people elected if not for that? On the other side of the political aisle, Chuck Schumer will lead his party in stopping any legislation of Republicans - this is exactly what he derided Republicans for during the Obama years.

The point being, these men voice words void of meaning.  A promise is only a campaign slogan, and dangerous and damaging policy is justified if the goal of reelection is accomplished.  To add insult to injury, legislation is written by unknown and unnamed lawyers in backrooms and enacted by legislators who do not give a hoot to even read what they are voting on.

We must be vigilant and demand better from our government.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Monsters Under the Bed

Disinvited speakers at universities that would contest liberal dogma, campus violence to prevent ill-liberal thought, shouts of constitutional crisis when constitutional authority is exercised.  Has the American public gone mad?  No, just liberals.

The liberal elite that once “calmly” held the power, now finds themselves beaten by the Electoral College they lauded when it appeared they would win.  Political games paint the newly elected Republican power as the “monsters under the bed” that everyone should and must fear.  These are the racists, bigots, sexists, homophobes that would take us back to the dark-ages. 

As such, there now rises the need for liberal dogma to retake and reshape government - by whatever means necessary - in their own image because people cannot seem to make the right decision: THEIR decision.

This reshaping of government will take the form of tyranny: taking away freedom of choice.  This has already been set in motion with the push to shut down free speech…unless the speech is in agreement with their own thought.

As we write in, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, Herbert Marcuse, a political theorist and considered the Father of the twenty-first century liberals, writes in his 1965 essay, Repressive Tolerance, that tolerance does not apply to right-wing political movements. Marcuse coined the phrase “liberating tolerance” meaning “intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left”. 

His practical implementation is the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which the Left sees to promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.

For Marcuse, if schools and other government institutions cannot program the thought Marcuse deems acceptable, then he demands that the rights of freedom of speech and assembly be withdrawn for those that contradict his social policies - any dissident thinking is monstrous.  This is what we are witnessing today.  Political action from the Left on campuses and governments to shut-down public policy and discourse in any disagreement with Leftist dogma.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Weird Science

Science seems to cease to be science where politics is concerned.  Politicians raise the issues of climate change and gender choice/identity with false scientific narratives. Techniques employed to support science in the political arena include parsing mountains of journal articles to pick certain items of data – taken out of context - to support claims, or when the facts do not fit, “facts” can simply be manufactured. And when those chosen and/or manufactured facts fail and measurements do not fit the theories, or a counter argument is proposed, then science simply devolves to name-calling in defense of the political agenda. 

For example, gender is now a choice.  So let’s play this out. If this is so, then why is not age a choice?  After all, we have people referring to themselves as an “old soul”.  Therefore, if age is a choice too, then we should accept the “science” that upon an individual’s sex change operation, they can also choose to be 65.  In this case, Medicare can pay for the operation and Social Security would provide retirement benefits. 

If the predictions of man-made global warming do not fit the observations then, we are told, the reason for any skepticism is that the opponent of such beliefs must be a closed-minded science denier.  Imagine if this was the standard for all sciences.

There is something wrong in a society that only looks to use certain “facts” to support a claim to politically launch themselves.  There is something even more disturbing with a public that not only allows this sort of behavior, but supports it and has even adopts it on a grander scale.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Newly Grad Dilemma

As graduation season approaches, so does job hunting season…and graduates are eager hunters…or are they? You would think that with having had a taste of freedom afforded in their college years there would be incentive to continue that lifestyle - to be able to have their own place and live a life of their choosing.

However, what we are increasingly seeing is a majority of college grads not pursuing the American Dream.  The 2012 article in The Atlantic captures the thought with its title, “53% of Recent College Grads Are Jobless or Underemployed—How?”.  According to data from the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and the U.S. Department of Labor, “about 1.5 million, or 53.6 percent, of bachelor's degree-holders under the age of 25 last year were jobless or underemployed”.

We can speculate as to the cause of this condition that may include upbringing towards entitlement, lack of opportunities in the job market, ambiguity in the direction to take their lives, or studies in disciplines that yield little marketable skills.  This is a critical situation in which, no matter the causation, we face an emerging population of which the takers outnumber the makers.

This is not sustainable, and with the urgency of the matter, the sources and symptoms must be treated swiftly and in concert.  Public policy change would probably bear little fruit for two reasons: (1) more government involvement has a track record of hindering rather than helping, and (2) many government policies are arguably at the heart of the issue we now face.

We find the solution needing to come from bending parts of our culture away from the vilification of individual success, the “evil” of profits, and the embrace of indolent intellectual thinking that reduces all discourse to a stout of racist when disagreement arises.  We would advocate a hearty discussion toward the benefits of personal pride, self-sufficiency, confidence gained from experiencing failure and success, hard work, and family values as solutions outside public policy.  Invigorating the American Dream can help restore the ambition to succeed and to achieve so much more.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

No Concept of Consequence

In the 60s, student riots came to an end when the National Guard fired into a crowd of students at Kent State, killing four.  The event shook to the nation and campus unrest, which was expressed in vandalism, ceased.  The realization of the severity of the consequences lead to a change in behavior of protestors.  Now, mind you, this is not to advocate the killing of students or protestors of any kind, this is simply an analysis that bad actions that are met with severe consequences can result in the future adjustment to those actions.

Today, there are relatively no consequences or responsibilities imposed on most behaviors.  Get pregnant?  Government is there for free, no-questions-asked or parental permission needed, day-after pill or abortion.  Realize you have too much debt from student loans…AFTER graduation?  Government will forgive the debt in time.  And now that you have that $7/hour minimum wage position at the McDonald’s drive thru window, why work at all?  Government assistance can get you $25/hour.  Simply put, too much is handled by someone, something or an invisible hand to make any consequence of an action not felt.

How do you deal with a society that has no sense of consequence or responsibility?  When there is no negative affect for a misjudgment or wrong-doing, why wouldn’t you do whatever you wanted? And if it assumed that someone or something else will always fix your problems, why avoid making problems?

As such, the threshold question to ask is: What does a society with no consequences look like?  We expect this answer will be an existential threat to liberty and prosperity.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Give 'em Hell, Trump!

In 1948, President Harry Truman gave a campaign speech attacking Republicans when a man from the audience yelled “Give ‘em Hell Harry!”.  Truman responded that he didn’t give Republicans “Hell”, but the truth is what Republicans think is Hell.  The event became a theme for the campaign.

During the years of President Obama we were told a great many thing about items of substance, only to find there was no truth to them.  There was the “you can keep your healthcare plan…period”, Beau Bergdahl served with distinction, the death of Americans in Benghazi was caused by an Internet video, inspection of Iranian nuclear facilities will be any time anywhere, the ACA will not add a dime to the deficit, the Stimulus will save or create four million jobs, and . . . we have eliminated, through negations, all of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Now, as President, Trump launched 60 Tomahawk missiles into a specific Syrian airbase identified as the point for the recent Syrian strike on its people allegedly using poison gas.  America’s response was swift, specific, strategic, and measured.  It did what Obama’s words failed to do: it drew a “red line” with a clear message that certain acts of violence will not be tolerated of a third rate country.

There are Middle East experts who have argued the region is a problem without solution but, like a chronic disease, it can be managed.  The Obama policy in the region, and world, was endless and toothless negotiation where the U.S. was a follower in the wishes of others.  Obama’s method of “being a friend to foes and a foe to friends” destabilized the world and gave power to dictators and free reign to terrorists.

Trump’s actions were necessary and will lend credence to words.  America took its first step to reclaim global leadership and reestablish American exceptionalism.  Military might should be the last action of a country, but what Trump did was a pin prick.  It was only 60 missiles that surgically struck targets without the loss of life.  The message of the immense strength and technology of America did not go unnoticed.  Foreign policy of the type President Theodore Roosevelt described to "speak softly, and carry a big stick" is now credible.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Devious and the Dull

Democrats, despite defeat at the state and national levels, remain a dominant political force.  This in in part due to being devious, and in part due to the GOP being dull.

For eight years Republicans preached to voters, “give us Congress and the presidency and we will return toward conservative principals of smaller government, lower regulations, and reduced taxes that will begin the restoration of liberty and prosperity.”  This was a possibility in February.  It would take Republicans to sway eight threatened Democrat Senators to pass legislation on their agenda.

However, the conservative Freedom Caucus wing of the GOP have seemed to have forgotten that politics is the art of the possible.  They have instead put the party’s head on the chopping block for all-or-nothing legislation rather than an incremental and calculated approach to change.  Thus, the failure of the Republicans to unite on healthcare puts the united Democrats in the driver seat.  Democrats can now make demand of Republicans and derail the GOP agenda, which only 30 days ago seemed plausible to achieve.

While Democrats and their media allies dance about alleged Russian attempts to interfere in the election long since passed, Obamacare remains and continues its death spiral.  Congress is in Republican grid-lock.  Senate Democrats are playing chicken with the Neil Gorsuch nomination to the Supreme Court cunningly by positioning for a filibuster.  What began at the beginning of the year as a GOP springboard to a new agenda is now under water.

It would be advisable for the GOP to enjoy a range of small victories by implementing policy and change in small bites rather than big gulps.  Get somethings done unilaterally from which success will begat success.  The vulnerable Democratic Senators will then be more amenable to bipartisan compromise.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

From No to No Can Do

On Friday the GOP pulled their Obamacare repeal and replace bill from the House floor, avoiding a vote that was destine to fail.  This was a stunning defeat for Republicans, and Democrats only had to stand by to watch the self-inflicted carnage.

Republicans demonstrated an inability to govern. We will have to wait to see if the GOP can muster a healthcare policy, but this debacle places the other parts of their agenda of tax reform, immigration reform, and infrastructure renewal in peril.  Democrats are more emboldened to their stated battle plan to obstruct all GOP policies.  The Republicans will need at least eight Democrat Senators to pass new legislation and the opportunity to reach across the aisle is now close to non-existent.

During the Obama Administration, Democrats called Republicans obstructionists to Obama’s “reasonable” policies.  The media branded Republicans the “Party of No”.  However, on Friday, the GOP became the “Party of No Can Do”.  Eight years of complaints and dozens of votes to repeal Obamacare, and Republicans could not deliver anything else, let alone better.

However, the real, and sad, story is voters and their representatives.  Too many voters want stuff that someone else pays for, regardless of its affordability.  And representatives, who have little interest in delivering enlightened representation, thus adopt the simple selfish posture to “give them what they want if it gets me reelected.”

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Got Racism?

Did you know milk is a symbol of white supremacy? No? Well you need to get in touch with your inner liberal and commune with Samantha Diaz, a staff writer for California State University Long Beach student newspaper, The Daily 49er, as she explains in her article on March 13, 2017 how white supremacists and neo-Nazis are appropriating milk as a symbol of hate. Below is an excerpt from her article:
When you think of milk, what first comes to your mind? If you’re a millennial, you probably think of strong bones, Got Milk? commercials, or maybe eating your favorite cereal while watching cartoons on a Saturday morning. 
What about racism? White nationalism? If you’re having trouble finding the connection between these institutions and milk, you’re not alone. You, along with the rest of the nation, have been so accustomed to hearing the benefits of milk that you probably didn’t even realize the subtle racism hidden in our health facts.

Diaz goes so far as to say the United States was founded on racism and that every institution we uphold has racist roots while claiming we are a “post-racist America”.

Now, most people reading her article may think this satire but given the source, sadly, it is indicative of young liberal college students who, too often, have a dysfunctional tendency  of making arguments without reason and expecting their audience to just accept their conclusion “because they said so”.

Diaz leaves her readers with a stunning call to action with this gem of a sentence:
"Until we recognize the racist roots in our own systems of government and fight to remove them, we are all in part responsible for the white, creamy form of racism currently taking hold in our country.”

So get out your pitch-forks and knives because we, ladies and gentlemen of logical thought and reasoning, must fight the daemon milk to save America.

Find the full article written by Samantha Diaz at the following link…just in case you do not believe someone could actually make this sort of an asinine argument:

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Disagreement vs. Destruction

Honest disagreement is good.  It leads to innovation and betterment.  But when disagreement is discarded for destruction, then a line is crossed.  This is the New Left.  From this launching point Democrats and liberals are on a quest to delegitimize the president.  They hate the man and are infuriated they are not in power.  Accordingly, personal destruction of the president, the economy, and nation are acceptable collateral damage to insure their “values” are restored.

But none of this is new.  We write in our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, about Herbert Marcuse, a political theorist, who many considered the Father of the “New Left” that originated in the colleges and campus protests in the 1960s.

In the Marcuse 1965 essay “Repressive Tolerance”, he argues that tolerance does not apply to right-wing political movements. Said in the context of the First Amendment, you have a right to only the speech that supports my views and all other speech is banned. Marcuse writes of his term “liberating tolerance”:  Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left [emphasis added]. . . They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc.

Marcuse is a dark figure to liberty, and the Democrats who embrace his contention and sophistry risk facing further voter wraith in 2018. 

President Trump is no hero, but he does represent a diversion from the politics that have encrusted the country for the past 16 years.  Trump is no breath of fresh air, but he does represent an optimism that prosperity will return by removing many of the shackles of government taxes and regulation.

The Democrats, liberals, and media allies should do three things:
  1. accept the results that liberals have been removed from elected office in the majority of the federal and state governments based on the results of their governing not their messaging,
  2. challenge Republicans with reasoned and fact based policy, and
  3. come forth to compromise not with the attitude “it is my way or nothing”, but recognizing a minority party can only influence, not control.

With this we may be able to return to disagreement that can support our nation, rather than a path of destruction.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Productivity Deficiency

For eight years before the recessions, from 1998 to 2005, the average annual growth in productivity was 3.2%. And for the eight years from 2009 after the recession, annual productivity growth was 1.2%.  Economists seem to be at a loss as to why productivity has stagnated for the past decade.  Eight years into a recovery, productivity and labor hour increases of significance have been wanting - these are part of the core of GDP growth.  Therefore, where has the growth gone?

We purport the missing productivity and labor hours can be found in culture and government policies as follows:
  • Culture - Too many people see work as a noun versus a verb.  I go to work – a place vs. I have come to work – an action.  The latter produces value whereas the former does not.  The idea of “I want, therefore I deserve” permeates through our society, especially with a younger generation of the workforce that was raised with participation trophies and “talking sticks”.  As many companies have discontinued mentoring, the notion of hard work, and starting from the ground and moving up has been lost.  This is prevalent with young people who bounce from job to job because they “haven’t found what they are looking for.”
  • Dress“Dress casual. Think casual. Act casual”.  Dress is a reflection of attitude, drive, discipline and respect.  Athletes wear their uniforms to compete.  Soldiers darn their uniforms into battle.  These are reflections of who you are and the mind-set you are in.  For far too many today, dress is reflective of an afternoon of football in their living room.  Just the notion of “casual” dress says it all.    The process of dressing professionally establishes a mindset of work and overall success.  It is respectful to yourself, family, company and co-workers.  Coming to work in sweats and looking as if you have just rolled out of bed to grant the company the pleasure of your presence, breeds lack of seriousness and productivity.
  • Self-esteem vs. Self-confidence many people are full of self-esteem, which has become an entitlement.  However, self-confidence is wanting as this comes from the task of experiencing failure and success.  These experiences breed wisdom and confidence.  Self-confidence cannot be granted, but must be earned.  This is a huge hurdle for productivity and growth, as companies are filled with individuals with plenty of self-esteem but lack the self-confidence to take the risk to move the company forward.
  • Political correctness Emails need to be written twice.  Once for the purpose of the communication, then again for the wording to make sure nothing that is said can be construed as offensive.  It would be a worthwhile time-impact study to quantify the degradation to productivity as well as innovation cause by political correctness.  This connects back to a culture in which each individual has the need to have their feelings and identity protected.  No longer is the childhood staying true that “words will never hurt me”.
  • Government Welfare Obstructs Moving to Work - According to the US Census Bureau, about 50 million people receive government assistance each month.  If the unemployment rate is truly below the level it was when the recession started, then why are seemingly some 13 million more people on food stamps?  The simple answer is that government penalizes those with crushing taxes and diminished benefits who attempt to get off the dole.  People are not stupid and can do the arithmetic that drives the behavior to work part-time to make as much after-taxes as working full-time.  For a swath of people this is a preferred life-style.  If even half of those 13 million would get off the dole, it would add some 6 million workers to the work force - a 5% bump in labor hours.

A new generation of Americans have been raised with self-esteem and sensitivity, but with an attitude of being entitled to a living rather than having to earn one.  We need to be able to reestablish the good examples of respect, manners, hard work, self-dignity and self-reliance that can carry our young, and thus our country, forward into a successful and more productive future.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Press Can be an Enemy of the People

President Trump has a knack of turning discussions into a street fight when you disagree with him.  However, when it comes to his comment that the press is an “enemy of the people” he is not alone in this assessment.

In our book, Vigilance The Price of Liberty, we quote from Patrick Caddell, a former Democratic Party public opinion pollster who worked for President Jimmy Carter and presidential candidate George McGovern.  In his lecture on September 29, 2012, at the Accuracy in Media conference, Caddell decried the media for its bias in elections as a threat to democracy and said:
The press’ job is to stand the ramparts and protect the people from organized government and governmental power, when they desert those ramparts and go to (one) side they decide to become active participants … to decide what truths you may know and what you may not … then they have made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy and made themselves an enemy to the American people.

The problem of the press – and why a majority of people surveyed say they distrust the press – is the underlying bias in their reporting.  The press largely operates by telling half the “truth”; i.e. that part that supports the feeling they seek to evoke from the voter.  Telling half the truth can be as much a lie as telling a whole lie.

The folly of the press, is based on a lack of vigilance by the voter that they seek to sway toward a preferred outcome.  Rather than “stand the ramparts” to scrutinize all politicians and public policies, the media is hypocritical in their claims that they are defending democracy.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Repeal...but Why Replace?

Screeching to a crowd in Warren, MI, socialist and regular guest on Russian Television, Bernie Sanders, declared "Know we are saying to our Republican colleagues: We will not allow you to throw up to 30 million Americans off of health insurance". First, where does the 30 million people under coverage from the Affordable Care Act come from?  Not even the Obama administration used that number.  This is simply Bernie trying to incite political fear.

According to an article by the right-leaning Heritage Foundation, ACA covers approximately 16.5 million people or about half of Sander’s claim.  Some 84% or 13.8 million members of the ACA are on Medicaid and 2.7 million on private insurance.  Of the Medicaid enrollees, about 60% or 8.2 million would qualify for Medicaid without the ACA, this according to Jon Gruber, the MIT professor who was an architect of Obamacare.

So the net number of enrollees attributable to Obamacare is about 10.9 million . . . not 30 million or even 20 million.  Remember too, that when the ACA was enacted about 6 million people were thrown-off their health insurance plans, which President Obama dismissed as – a drop in the bucket – in the overall healthcare market.

So, where to go from here?  First to recognize that all the layers of government in healthcare are the problem.  Second, to start dissolving the layers toward directly connecting the man who gets the service, as the consumer, and the man who delivers the service, as the provider; i.e. the free market where the price mechanism can kick in to drive access, choices, quality, and affordability . . . as it always does.

Currently, health insurance companies are not providing free market insurance, but highly regulated and taxpayer subsidized cash management.  Whatever the government doesn’t directly controls, it indirectly controls.  The more control, the worse the system.

The Republicans have replacement plans that are better than the ACA, but all still have government subsidies.  The real solution is to dissolve the ACA in its entirety along with many other government health care programs and regulations. However, as this is not on the political horizon, here are six suggestions to replace the ACA with less government intrusion while keeping the policy to deny no person coverage and no reimbursement cap:

  1. Dismantle the individual mandate with its tax penalty, the requirement that companies have to provide health insurance for employees who work more than 30 hours a week, and any minimum requirement on health insurance coverage
  2. Let health insurance companies compete anywhere in the country to sell any type of policy at a risk adjusted price to increase the types of policies, prices and competition
  3. Let people annually put the greater of $10,000 or up to 10% of their pre-tax income in a Health Savings Account (HSA) and let the HSA build tax free, with no taxes when withdrawals are used for medical costs and insurance premiums
  4. Put a cap on pain and suffering tort liability to help control the large insurance premiums that doctors and hospitals pay
  5. Permit 100% individual tax deduction of health insurance premiums (just like companies)
  6. Remove the restriction on health insurance companies that requires them to spend 85% of premiums on medical reimbursements to enable health insurance companies to make investments, like life insurance companies, and build assets than can be used to mitigate premium increases

The above will be better than the ACA, but the Left will argue that tens of millions will be without health insurance.  But in their quest for noble compassion they ignore an ACA in collapse that risks hundreds of millions of people who could be without health insurance from a “death spiral” of uncontrolled costs.

Obamacare is another failed socialist experiment to coercively redistribute income and make the many pay for the few. It is better public policy to kill this beast, which has never had the majority of public support, than submit taxpayers to the civil slavery of the ACA that takes their hard earned money and delivers nothing to them in return.