The Beetle is Dead and Government Killed It

Any time new technology comes out, it is expensive. Completely new machines are often the folly of the affluent; the masses won’t get to enjoy them until decades later. ENIAC, the world’s first computer was debuted in 1947, but it wasn’t until 1981 that IBM brought us the PC and made the computer something we all could enjoy.

ENIAC
ENIAC

Cell phones were clunky boxes that only successful businessmen carried, and they were far too expensive for the proletariat to buy until science and the free market cut them down to size; both physically and financially.

So let’s talk about cars. 100+ years ago, the price of a car was significantly greater than the price of a horse. Plus, if you wanted a new car, you had to buy one. If you wanted a new horse, all you had to do was get your male horse together with a female horse, throw a little Barry White on the record player, and voilà! A new horse emerges months later, free of charge.

Cars were initially met with skepticism, disdain, and envy because they were loud, unreliable, and expensive. Here’s the thing though, horses have a relatively slow top speed, and even giving them the Lance Armstrong treatment isn’t going to get them up to a point where they can do 60+ mph for hours on end. So the value in cars is unmistakable. Although the technology was new, the dreamers saw that cars were the future and got to work building them, even if at the time, only the top 1% need apply.

Fast forward to the 30’s. Adolf Hitler was certainly a murderous %$@#$, but even violent psychopaths on occasion display some sort of twisted goodness, and this was his. He felt that cars shouldn’t just be for the rich and Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned to build the “people’s car” (Volkswagen) for the average Joe to buy, and the 911’s not-so-hot older sister was born.beetle

The history of the Beetle is legendary. But let’s look at what it was—a cheap car. It looked good, had character, four wheels, an engine, and occasionally brakes. That was pretty much it. The car sold millions around the world, not because it was fast, had all the options, or was an exclusive ride, but because it was affordable.

A drivetrain, wheels, seat, and steering wheel wrapped in a steel overcoat, by itself, has tremendous value to anyone needing to get from points A to B. All the other options that have been added through the years add value, but they also add price which some people simply can’t afford.

A bare bones car appeals to two types of people. Those of us who are broke but need to go to work, and those of us who race and consider Colin Chapman’s “Weight is evil” philosophy to be that which was handed down from the gods. People who are broke and people who like to race aren’t a small demographic. We’re out there, and we’re in the millions. We want a cheap, bare bones, nothing is there that doesn’t need to be, kind of car.

Colin Chapman's Brainchild, the Lotus Seven
Colin Chapman’s Brainchild, the Lotus Seven

So what am I whining about? The same thing everyone whines about; our well-meaning, yet ever meddling and oppressive government of course!

Any car you buy in America must be equipped with OBD2, air bags, anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitoring systems, seat belts, windshields, achieve a certain MPG, meet government specified crash standards, and a whole host of other requirements our governmental overlords have legislated.

All of these gizmos and gadgets add two things; weight and cost. They have one thing in common as well; they’re not uniquely necessary on an automobile. So the ability to buy a modern-day Beetle is dead, and government killed it.

cons
United States Constitution

Our constitution was designed so that “we the people” would always be free to make our own decisions by limiting the powers of government to infringe upon our rights. So how does forcing me to buy an air bag that I can then legally turn off do an ounce of good? Riddle me that Batman!

A free market should allow us to buy whatever we want as long as we aren’t harming someone else by using that product, but none of these safety features actually accomplishes that goal. Instead they merely serve to infringe upon our rights to make decisions about how safe we choose to live our lives. As a libertarian, that infuriates me. That is not, nor was ever, the role of our government as laid out by our founding fathers.

I’m not one of those libertarians who float conspiracies like air biscuits; freely and aromatically-challenged. I truly believe that our politicians mean well. But let me give you an analogy. If we were going full-blown Bear Grylls in the wilderness, no cell phones, transportation, or means of getting help, and you fell and impaled your brain with something, it would be obvious you need emergency surgery. So armed with my hunting knife, I go to work. I’m no Dr. House however, so what is going to happen? You’re going to die; that’s what.

Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House M.D.
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House M.D.

Were my intentions evil in performing surgery on you? Of course not, I was trying to save your life! So why did you die? Because while my intentions were good, I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.

This is our government in a nutshell. They do their best to protect us from harm, but many of them have never worked in the auto industry and know little about it. So they make decisions every day without having the slightest comprehension of the ramifications of them.

In a proper free market society where our government does what it is supposed to do, what would happen is that government would insist we the people had information. We don’t need cars that meet certain crash standards, we only need to know what crash standards a car meets, and then we can make our decision as an informed consumer.

Ariel Atom
Ariel Atom

It is time we the people tell our government that we choose what we want and you don’t get to dictate that to us. If I want to buy an Ariel Atom and drive it to work every day, then I shouldn’t have to buy it with “some assembly required.” Give me the information I need to be an informed consumer, and then get the hell out of my way.

Political Bipolar Lenses: How Not To Have A Political Discussion

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

 

Bipolar: a word not often understood. Magnets are a good example; having a positive and negative pole, there is no in-between.

Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that is similar in that people who have it suffer from violent mood swings where they are perfectly happy one minute, then intensely angry the next. They generally have a hard time occupying what would be a “mildly-irritated” middle ground.

Unfortunately, we see a similar condition with many political analysts, whether it be professionals, or just the politically-charged social-media warriors. They constantly look to prove a candidate is either perfect or evil. Logic should dictate that this is a foolish way to think, but sadly so many of us do it anyway because it makes us feel good destroying our enemy’s credibility.

The fact is no one is neither perfect nor 100% evil, and there is value to be had towards one’s credibility in acknowledging that.

Pope BenedictTo give extreme examples, the Pope, who is arguably the pinnacle of altruism, is still a sinner according to the bible. If you focus only on those sins, he could seem like a bad person, but if you look at the overall breadth of his actions, you’ll find a largely selfless man.

Adolf Hitler is arguably history’s least altruistic individual, but no matter how twisted his ideas were, they were born out of national pride with the intent of benefiting Germany.  He didn’t think he was an evil man, and if one only looked at his motives, they’d think he was just a passionate patriot. His actions however, proved he was a murderous psychopath who ordered and committed so many attrocities, it’s difficult to give him credit for any good he might have intended.

Conservatives want to find the skeleton in the closet that would prove once and for all that president Obama is an evil man hell-bent on ruining America. The left looked for that one thing that proves Mitt Romney dined on the dreams of the poor while snidely laughing all the way to the bank.

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Sensationalism sells, and the news media has instinctively learned that it’s a lucrative tactic, but it is dishonest journalism at best, and both sides of the aisle should be better, yet they often refuse to be. Intelligent debaters apply logic and reason to their arguments, and as a result, are seen as less of a blowhard and given the utmost respect.

Let me exemplify the benefit of using this approach in your daily lives. When I was young, I worked for a car dealer. The owner decided to invest in a “Buy Here Pay Here” division. He hired a man from the banking industry to run it, and moved me to a sales position in the department.

It was soon evident to me, that this man knew lending like the back of his hand, but was completely ignorant regarding most things automotive and sales. The department was failing miserably, and I feared losing my job. So I decided to write a letter to the owner, but opted to try a novel approach.

Instead of attacking him on every front, I first pointed out that my new manager was brilliant when it came to lending, and would be very well suited to doing something that specifically revolved around that. However, I had concerns about his work ethic, (He put in a strict 40 hours in an industry where 50+ hours is the norm), his ability to purchase vehicles properly (we were far too heavily invested in most of our inventory), and his management techniques (he had the personality of a ratchet, not a salesman).

Once completed, I put the letter on the owner’s desk and hoped for the best. Less than a month later, the department was terminated, my boss was moved to financing as I suggested, and I was given a position in another department as opposed to being terminated.

Not only was I NOT fired, I didn’t even get reprimanded. The owner quietly investigated my concerns, confirmed the complaints I lobbied with others, and my advice was heeded. While the owner surprisingly never talked to me about the letter, other salesmen were let go, while I was retained, leading me to believe he appreciated what I had done.

I believe the reason for this was that I made my argument intelligently, I pointed out my manager’s strengths, and then his overwhelming weaknesses honestly and fairly. I demonstrated objectivity, and as a result was given credibility, and my idea was put into place exactly as I suggested.

The purpose of this post is simple. I’m asking for anyone with a conservative voice to be a voice of reason, not rhetoric, hate, and division. America is headed down a path of financial turmoil, and liberty is being stripped away at an overwhelming pace.

Winning this election is very important, and those making the most attractive arguments will win the votes of the undecided. Don’t believe me? Ronald ReaganReagan won 49 states after his first term, including the liberal bastions of California and New York! It wasn’t just his content, it was his delivery. Try to remember Reagan saying anything hateful and mean-spirited. I can’t do it, can you? It’s because he didn’t talk that way, and our leaders, our media, as well as ourselves shouldn’t either.

I believe Obama’s intentions are generally altruistic, but that doesn’t mean they’re right. As I advanced into management, I often had to dismiss wonderful people, not because they were evil or dishonest, but because they repeatedly made mistakes that put the company at risk. I believe this is our president in a nutshell, and when pointing out his flaws, it would do us all well to frame it in that light.

Don’t fool yourself into believing people aren’t on the fence. We need every one of those votes. Independents aren’t impressed by idealistic bloviators. Zero objectivity begets zero credibility. If we limited government types try to paint the president as an evil communist, the independents will run away from that rhetoric in droves. So if you’re slinging that mud, you’re not helping the cause.

By all means, have persuasive discussions with those whom you think will listen; we need to win this fight. But demonstrate that you are fair and reasonable in your dissent, try to find the good in your enemy before you list all the bad, and you will attract the fence-sitters we need to usher in a more liberty-friendly revolution going forward.

Two Great Life Lessons and a Cautionary Tale

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

I went to a local public school with a legendary band program. Our director had been there for decades, and as a result of his diligence, the school was constantly being invited to perform outside our state and even outside the country. Each year we competed, we performed an “A” rated piece, which are often the most difficult for high school programs, and we always received a “1” rating—the best possible score.

By the time I entered high school, this stellar band program with its aging director, was on educational cruise control. I was an OK trombonist, but I needed someone to give me a swift kick in the petoot. Not only did that not happen my first year there, I didn’t even qualify for the advanced band, and I hated it.

This great director was in his final year before retirement, and taking an interest in my musical future seemed of little interest to him. He wasn’t mean, but I was neither inspired, nor motivated by him either.

The following year, however, brought a new director named Don Nathan – a man who was young, full of steam, and knew he was filling some big shoes. He was also a man who would have been the first victim of last-in-first-out cuts if teachers’ unions had their way in their desire to protect veteran teachers.  His first order of business went something like this.Rally Held To Stand In Solidarity With Union Workers Across The Country

This band program has been going to contests, playing an “A” level piece, and getting a “1” rating for decades. Clearly you’re capable of more, and we’re going to do more.

This young teacher decided that, instead of filling legendary shoes, he’d one up them. Some saw it as arrogant, but I saw it as ambitious, and I loved it. He picked a majestic piece called Lincolnshire Posy by Percy Grainger. It was a beautiful work that I encourage any classical music buff to seek out. It was also an “AA” rated piece, which is often reserved for college level musicians and something we had never attempted before.

The piece was the most difficult challenge I had ever endeavored to play as a musician. For those of you who are musicians, you’ll understand the difficulty put forth by a piece with time signatures including 5/8, 13/16, and even instances with no time signature where we simply followed the conductor’s baton for each beat.

Percy Aldridge Grainger
Percy Aldridge Grainger

As I struggled to learn this piece, there was one section where I was the featured instrument, but, because I was still struggling to learn it, I played very quietly in fear of someone hearing how badly I was butchering this inspiring verse. In front of everyone, Mr. Nathan stops the rehearsal, looks over at me and asks, “Where are you? I can’t hear you.”

I explained I didn’t want my errors to be heard, and I’ll never forget his response: “It’s OK if you screw up, but at least screw up with feeling.”

This was 20 years ago, but I still remember this like it was yesterday. I advanced to the premier band–thanks to him pushing me—and I remember, most of all, doing something our great program had never before attempted to achieve. We went to contest, played an “AA” rated piece, and still got our “1.” I also remember our sense of accomplishment when we actually did what we feared we may not be able to do.

There are two lessons to be learned here, and I carry them with me always.

First, what you’ve done isn’t what matters; it is what you do in your future that will define you. Until you are dead, your legacy is not complete. One need only look at Joe Paterno to understand how a legacy can be destroyed in an instant.

Joe Paterno
Joe Paterno

If you look at some of the greatest successes in life, whether it be athletes like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan or entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, all their interviews have a common theme. They don’t brag about what they’ve done nor rest on their laurels. They talk about what their weaknesses are and what they need to work on so that they can improve and be better.

Second, don’t be afraid to fail. If you’re going to do something, do it proudly, errors and all. Every business you see today started out as the financial risk of a dreamer, and they each could have failed. If you look at all they’ve done, they probably erred often along the way.

Steve Jobs got fired from Apple at one point, and Tiger Woods thrice reinvented his swing, playing horribly by his standards until he learned to trust his work and live with the results. But both achieved greater success as a result of forging ahead and facing their fears.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

My cautionary tale is this. I have made no bones about my disdain for unions, and Mr. Nathan is one reason why. These are the two most valuable lessons I personally learned from high school. I owe Mr. Nathan for a lot of who I am as a person, and I can directly point to those lessons when I look at my successes in life. He was one of my favorite and certainly one of my best teachers.

However, he was one of our school’s newest teachers at the time. If there had been cuts, he would have been the first to go in favor of more tenured seat warmers that I sadly learned almost nothing from. I’d be a lesser man because of it. Lucky for me, I was in school during the Reagan years, and the economy was strong enough that didn’t happen.

I believe these lessons will help anyone, and I wanted to share them. I also hope you’ll fight to rid our schools of policies that would eschew great teachers in favor of the ones biding their time until retirement. It’s yours and your children’s future. Teach them well, and fight to be sure they are taught well by others.

 

Why Pre-Existing Conditions Matter

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

In the Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare, there is a provision that requires health insurance companies cover pre-existing conditions. While the majority has condemned the insurance mandate of the ACA, most are in favor of pre-existing condition coverage being forced onto health insurers.ACA%20image[1]

However, I feel that this is unwitting hypocrisy. How can someone oppose the government forcing them to pay for something but be OK with the government forcing someone else to? We oppose the mandate because we empathize with those who feel they don’t need to buy health insurance right now. But with pre-existing conditions, we then imagine situations where we lose our job and insurance and then are unable to get coverage because of pre-existing conditions, and lose our wonderful powers of empathy we had a moment ago and decide “f*** the insurance companies.”

This is what happens when people don’t care where money is coming from or who the loss hurts, as long as it benefits them personally.

It seems cruel to people that insurance companies would deny pre-existing conditions, but quite frankly, it’s wrong for us to expect them to cover them. I’d like to think it is because people don’t fully understand the issues with this, so having an insurance background, I’ll try to explain.

Imagine you decide to trade in your car which happens to have a irreparably damaged engine—now only serving the function of an industrial-sized paperweight. The car should be worth $5,000, but it needs $3,000 worth of repairs. The dealer takes the car in on trade for $2,000, and then resells it without fixing the engine. Instead, they sell the new buyer a $1,000 warranty. The new owner takes the car to a repair shop to address the blown engine, submits the claim, and now the $1,000 policy is supposed to pay for a $3,000 engine repair everyone knew it needed before all of this started?

Engine Which Has Suffered a Connecting Rod Failure
Engine Which Has Suffered a Connecting Rod Failure

The insurance company would immediately take a $2,000 loss that it would have no way to recover since the policy was paid in full up front for $1,000. While the consumer and dealer might think this is awesome, the insurance company and all its employees who are about to go out of business because they’re repeatedly taking unrecoverable loss, won’t be as pleased.

The ultimate truth is that covering a pre-existing condition is not insurance, it’s a grant.

Insurance is designed so that the insured pays a premium up front, and in return, the insurer takes a financial risk that the insured can’t afford to take themselves. What’s the risk you ask?

Imagine you open a collision policy, and then pay your first premium of $200. On the way home from the agent’s office, you plow into someone and send them to the hospital with a quarter-million dollar medical bill. Guess what? The insurance company just lost $249,800 on you, and there is nothing to stop you from canceling your policy immediately after, leaving them with a massive loss. That’s a legitimate risk they take every single day.gap-insurance-1[1]

The way they make a profit is by employing actuaries who calculate the insurance company’s anticipated claims using mathematical models, then the insurer charges a percentage above that in hopes the actuaries are have nailed their projected losses. You the consumer benefit because you passed that risk of a $250,000 settlement you might have incurred and can’t afford onto the insurance company, in favor of a monthly payment you can afford.

Here’s the reason I say that covering pre-existing conditions is a grant. What is to stop you from dropping your insurance company after you’ve had a massive claim like that? The answer is nothing. In the accident situation I explained, it is the risk the insurance companies take. While they lost, risk is the business they are in after all.

But in the pre-existing condition situation, there is absolutely no risk. You already have the condition, and they are going to be expected to pay for it. The word risk implies they may or may not incur damages, but with pre-existing conditions, risk is replaced with certainty because now they are liable for something you knew existed—because it was PRE-EXISTING.

Imagine you owned an insurance company and someone drove up with their car on a tow truck smashed to bits, requesting to start a full coverage policy with you. Are you really going to agree to that deal knowing that the claimant is going to give you $200 only to file a $10,000 claim tomorrow? If you’re answer is yes, you may want to avoid starting your own company. So, using the “Golden Rule” as a standard, why are we doing unto them, what we wouldn’t want done unto us?gap-insurance-1[1]

I am not a heartless person who thinks people should be left to die. But, aside from the obvious personal responsibility issues of people who can buy insurance but opt not to, I believe we should not be treating insurance companies as if they’re Satan in business form, and that taking advantage of them should be considered an acceptable or even honorable practice. They employ a lot of people and help keep our economy strong by assuming those risks most of us can’t afford for a nominal fee we can. If you don’t like it, feel free to take that risk yourself if you can afford to.

Contrary to left-wing beliefs, insurance companies do not have a bottomless wallet. They can, and often do, go out of business if their losses become excessive, just like any other business. Which hurts all the people who work for them.

So while this law doesn’t pass the costs onto the taxpayer per se, insurance companies will pass it to the consumer in the form of raised rates, lest they go out of business. Many of you have no doubt noticed the rate increases already. And while we’re at it, taxpayer and consumer are generally the same people; it’s just the former implies the government pilfered a few bucks first.

There is a better way to improve the health care system through deregulation and tort reform which would lower costs. Taking advantage of legitimate businesses that are then forced to pass those damages onto us is not the answer.

The “Government-Is-Not-For-Profit” Act

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Years ago, there existed a town near me called New Rome, Ohio. It was a small town of about 60 people, but they had a police force of 14 officers. That’s right, one policeman for approximately every four citizens!

You may think that sounds really good at first, if you’re no a libertarian like me, but if you do some simple math, a police officer making $40k a year would have cost each New Rome citizen $10,000 a year. Imagine that debit to your checking account for a minute. tumblr_myo00j3wKh1ririjeo1_500[1]

So how did they pay for this? New Rome police had a lucrative business via a stretch of US Route 40 that went from 45 mph to 35 mph, even though the conditions of the road changed in no way to warrant the decrease. Many unwitting travelers got caught up in their highly effective trap, and New Rome raked in the cash.

Eventually, this corruption was discovered, and New Rome was disbanded and absorbed by a nearby township.

I highly doubt New Rome is the only example of this kind of corrupt greed in government. There are likely hundreds of towns scattered throughout the country who thrive by their ticket-writing dexterity, and it’s shameful.

Government is not a business. The purpose of a government by the people and for the people is simple. “We the people” appoint representatives to protect our rights from others who threaten them, and we pay them a modest salary to do so. Aside from protecting our rights, they should make every attempt to stay out of our life because THEY work for US. Just as you wouldn’t impede your bosses at work unless you felt one was stealing from the company, so you reported them to another, police should leave you alone in the same way.Police Officer

The government was never designed to be profitable nor generate income. Government is to collect the taxes needed to do the people’s business, and not a penny more.

I know my left wing friends are not supportive of the idea of limited government, but I think even they’d agree that unless the people are asking for something to be done, government officials should not take it upon themselves to do it.

As such, the government should never have a financial incentive to govern, but instead only a constitutional or lawful incentive to protect our aforementioned rights.

I believe most Americans would be upset that a government agency was in business like New Rome, and some people might propose a standard on how many policemen per citizen are allowed, but I think that’s the wrong approach for fear it would become a standard, not a limit.

So being the audacious guy I am; I have a unique proposal that I’d love to see get a little traction in order to insure the government doesn’t wrongly feed itself. If it does gain traction, you can say you saw it here first! We’ll call it the “Government-Is-Not-For-Profit” act.

 • The government shall only collect revenue from taxes based on either the taxpayer’s income or product consumption. Other means of revenue such as, but not limited to penalties and fines, are strictly prohibited from being directed to government agencies.got-a-speeding-ticket-how-does-it-effect-my-auto-insurance-250x250[1]

• If fines are used as a method of penalization and dissuasion, those fines should only be payable to a legitimate charity, and the receipt from that charitable donation which is to be greater than or equal to the fine and paid between the period of the judgment and the due date shall be furnished to the government as the only allowable means of restitution.

• The government shall not use any action by a machine or device as the impetus for prosecution. Such devices shall only be used as investigative tools after a crime or misdemeanor has occurred and/or been witnessed and reported, or for scientific study without possibility of prosecution.

To explain the purpose of this better, the first provision would ensure that the government only collects revenue from all citizens in an equal and fair measure and prohibit any concept of incentivizing revenue.

The second provision would give the government a method for financially penalizing offenders, but instead of collecting the money themselves, the money would be directed toward a charity of the offender’s choice. For instance, if I get cited $100 for speeding, I would then donate that $100+ to the Red Cross, for instance, and send my receipt to the government to show I paid the fine to a legal charity. That way I still get penalized, but the government had no financial incentive to penalize me, only an incentive born out of safety, as it should be. As an added bonus, charitable donations are significantly increased.

The last one is about the growing “Big Brother” traffic cameras that dole out tickets purely for revenue, which have little to do with public safety. This provision would ensure that at no point are we being governed by machines. I understand the argument that a police officer must first review it, but I don’t care. It’s the dawning of Big Brother, and it needs to stop.big_brother_obama_parody_poster-p228489253510086489tdcp_400[1]

The point of all of this is simple. We the people decide how we are to be governed, and while we want the government to protect our rights, we also want them to understand that they work at our behest, and that feeding themselves at our expense so that they may grow their own agenda, which may be contradictory to our own, is strictly prohibited. They should be likened to referees in a sports event. You need them there to make sure we all play by the rules, but they should never be seen as the stars of the show.

The spirit of legislation is to protect the public. For instance, if a driver, alone in his car, is lightly speeding, and he’s the only one on the road, then it shouldn’t matter as he’s only a danger to himself. As soon as he goes zipping past another motorist, then it’s a problem.

Police understand this, which is why many just give warnings and generally honor the 5-10 mph grace speed in favor of nabbing the person who was truly driving dangerously. We just need to make sure all government officials think that way and taking away their incentive to fine and penalize is a perfect means to that end.

 

 

The Myth Of Greedy Capitalists

I have this horrible recurring dream that millions of college students die from alcohol poisoning after playing a drinking game during an Obama speech. When he uses the word “fair-share,” they are required to drink a shot. (Please kids, don’t try this at home)

It is a well-known psychological trick that overuse of a word is often done with the purpose of being permanently associated with it through subliminal suggestion. I don’t profess to know what is in Obama’s heart, and you should be wary of anyone in the media who says they do. But I don’t believe it is an accident that he uses this word over and over again so that he may mildly brainwash everyone to believe he is the only candidate who cares about you getting a fair shot. Political strategists certainly know and would advise him to use such a tactic. Disingenuous or not, it is effective.Obama-golfing[1]

However, let’s take a look at this from a skeptical point of view and analyze what it presumes. If he is saying this as a means of promoting himself above another candidate, then that means he is also saying other candidates do not want you to have a fair shot. If they all believe in fairness, then there’s no more point in bringing it up, right? For instance, no candidate campaigns on the platform of prosecuting murderers because we all want that, and saying so, would not set that candidate apart from their competitors.

So this then means that, in selling himself as the candidate of fairness, Obama is asserting that Mitt Romney, a devout Mormon who donated his father’s inheritance to the church so that it could be used to help those less fortunate and so that he could earn his own way instead, somehow only wants rich people to succeed and poor people to stay poor. Is this narrative starting to sound pretty ridiculous yet?

Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney

Let’s dig a little deeper. How do rich people get rich? They sell products or services. The richest of the rich sell products to the masses. The late Enzo Ferrari likely made a pretty centesimo, but he was nowhere near the financial status of a Bill Gates for instance. If poor people stay poor, can they buy a Windows computer?

So if some conspiracy theorist is ignorant enough to believe that all rich people get together in some sort of bourgeois yacht club meeting and collude to keep the proletariat down, then explain to me how they benefit by impoverishing their intended customers.

The idea that rich people benefit from everyone else being poor only works in a socialist model where the rich can forcefully take from the poor, and force them into servitude, not a capitalist one where the rich depend on the masses to buy their goods.

I am to wealth what a McDonald’s Hamburger is to a steak. But I am increasingly disgusted with the idea that the boogeyman is synonymous with a capitalist. Because, while I may not be rich, I have goals and dreams that include becoming wealthy one day, and I’m not about to be told I’m a bad person for wanting it or that I’ll be a bad person if I attain it.

I believe everyone is a greedy capitalist. Some aren’t willing to work as hard as others, some aren’t willing to work as honestly as others, and some refuse to believe that people richer than them deserve more for their efforts. Apathy, jealousy, complacency, and sometimes just dumb luck prevent most of us from achieving our dreams. But we all want more than what we have, we all want success. Then, once we’ve achieved it, we all want control how it is shared with others.

So while I credit Obama with a smart tactic, and let’s not lie to ourselves, it is working with those who don’t bother to put a critical eye to it as I have done, it is still just a psychological trick, not an indication of someone who understands how to make America better through hard work, critical thinking, and an honest assessment of the historical evidence of socialism versus capitalism.

We know socialism has no successful models to point to, yet he promotes socialistic policies. We know that over-regulation causes business owners to pull their money into their proverbial turtle shell until the “predator” passes by instead of investing, hiring, and growing the economy, yet he pushes the EPA and OSHA farther and farther into territory they were never intended to occupy at the peril of every entrepreneur trying to become a productive part of America. We know that forcing people to be self-sufficient by kicking them out of the nest works, yet by advocating more entitlements instead of less, he continues to enable those who would rather be on a permanent government funded vacation.EPA-Logo

Ronald Reagan humorously quipped, “The best minds aren’t in government. If any were, business would hire them away.”

President Obama telling Romney how to help businesses grow, and vicariously our economy, seems to me like Obama telling Tiger Woods how to fix his golf swing. So you can vote for the guy that says he’ll solve all your problems for you, but I’ll vote for the guy who honestly says, “I don’t understand your problems as well as you do, so let me get the hell out of your way.”

To Everyone Who Has Worn a U.S. Military Uniform: Thank You

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

On January 3, 2008 Golf Magazine published an article by David Feherty who was returning from a USO tour in the Middle East. About to return home, he stood as they loaded the caskets next to where he was to be seated on the flight. He commented that, at first, he had presumed they would be in a separate hold, but then realized that they deserved to be seated with everyone else, “…as it should be. This wasn’t cargo. This was another passenger” he wrote. He went on to say:

I wish I knew who was in that casket — one of the 3,887 Americans killed in Iraq as of December — so I could write to the family to tell them what an honor it was to be on the same airplane as their son or daughter, and to thank them.

Click Here for one of the best articles you’ll ever read

David Feherty
David Feherty

America is full of great Americans, but people like David take being one to a whole new level. You see, many of you know David as golf’s wisecracking commentator (who is actually of Irish descent). He only recently became an American citizen and now calls America his home.

He could be just like many Europeans who come here and make a fortune while insulting the country that gives him the opportunity to do so, but he opted instead to become an American citizen and show his gratitude for this great land by going overseas to tell our troops how much their efforts mean to him. In my eyes, that makes him a better American than most natural-born citizens.

Of course, people emigrate all of the time, but take a moment to stop and think; if you were born here, what would it take for you to leave America for a better life? I can’t even imagine a scenario where I feel like my opportunities would be better elsewhere. So when I think of what it must take for someone to leave their country, especially a reasonably civilized country like Ireland, it makes me remember how great this nation really is.

What makes it great? America has an amazing Constitution regardless of what Justice Ginsberg believes, but more importantly, it has an amazing group of volunteers who continue to put their lives on the line to defend it.US%20Marine[1]

The self-preservation instinct is in all animals, and we humans are no exception. However, our military put themselves in harm’s way every single day for what is often a low-paying job, not because of the pay, but because they have no qualms about putting the safety of others in front of their own for no other reason than, “it’s the right thing to do.”

David has been a huge supporter of our troops through the Wounded Warrior Project. We as Americans, for better or worse, are the proverbial spoiled children who often take for granted the freedoms we were born with and enjoy 24/7. While the Constitution outlined them, it’s only a piece of paper and cannot protect us from harm. Only men and women with honor, courage, bravery, and guns can.Wounded Warrior Project

It’s shameful when you see people like the Westboro Baptist followers, whom all were most likely born here yet have no compunction about disrespecting the people who keep them safe, while immigrants like David who weren’t go out of their way to honor those who serve.

I also felt severe shame after the first Republican primary debate when a gay soldier came on the video screen and was booed. It was appalling to me that no one on stage felt compelled to stand up and say, “What is wrong with you people? That man is putting his life on the line for you. Show some respect.” (Which is what I was screaming at my TV)

Whether you agree with their sexual habits or not, does it really excuse booing someone that is risking their life for you?

Close your eyes and imagine bullets whizzing by your head and not knowing where they’re coming from. Imagine being thousands of miles from those you love for not just months, but years. Imagine having 50+ lbs of gear on you suffering in the desert heat because, if you didn’t, a projectile would likely kill you. Imagine driving down the highway and seeing every piece of debris on the side of the road as a possible exploding device about to take your life. Imagine exiting a boat on a beach only to see people on top of a hill shooting at you and your brethren when you have literally nowhere to hide. Imagine flying a plane and seeing antiaircraft ordinance blazing by your wings or your radar lighting up because another plane is behind you with missile lock. Imagine being a lone sniper with your eyes on a scope for days waiting for one good shot.ied-cutout01[1]

Did you close your eyes and imagine these things? Guess what, our men and women in the military don’t have to. They live it, and if they’re lucky, live through it. Any time you find yourself complaining, just stop. You don’t know sacrifice like they do, and thanks to them, you’ll never have to.

So on this Memorial Day, I hope that we all can learn from David Feherty, a truly great American, how to treat other great Americans, our men and women in uniform.

From me, to every soldier past, present, and future, THANK YOU and happy Memorial Day!

 

 

log·i·cal: capable of reasoning or of using reason in an orderly cogent fashion lib·er·tar·i·an: an advocate of the doctrine of free will; a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action

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