Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jefferson; Thoughts on John and Sam Adams, Hamilton, and why it Matters today…

Thomas Jefferson is considered America’s greatest political Philosopher in the cause of liberty. History scholars, whether they agree with his politics or not, have to agree he was a genius in the discipline of developing government frameworks that protected liberty by harnessing human nature and the propensity of individuals to use government to acquire power. His life was spent studying, defining, determining, and protecting liberty for the America he helped found and loved.

He was a prolific writer and his library contained volumes of books that he read on subjects ranging from farming to the history of the Roman Empire. He used history to support his ideas on liberty, and always argued for limited government based on his knowledge of how government was an avenue to tyranny; always. He also wrote about the other founders and his impression and experience in their joint efforts creating our republic.

On Sam Adams he believed that there was no greater patriot in the cause of freedom and respected Sam Adam’s opinions on many of the difficult issues of the time. Sam Adams was a devout Christian and was driven to freedom mostly due to his belief and defense of religious freedom. Jefferson was very private in his own religion, but respected men like Sam Adams because he knew a free society could only be maintained by a moral society.

On John Adams he respected his ability to argue but knew J Adams had no understanding of human nature and its impact on forming a government. They were often at odds and were seen as rivals but had a mutual respect for the differences of opinion and shared a lifelong relationship that Jefferson treasured and wrote about throughout his life. Their common cause was liberty and forming a “rational republic” form of government.

On Alexander Hamilton he believed and rightfully so, that he would have been content with the British form of government in America, and his true goal of independence was that he should be one of the elite class, not the Englishman sitting thousands of miles away. Hamilton did not believe that government was best ruled by the “common” citizen, and often disagreed with Jefferson on this point. They were rivals in the administration of George Washington, and Jefferson vehemently disagreed with the creation of a central bank not overseen by congress. Jefferson believed Hamilton was content on “force and corruption” in his management of government.

Jefferson never swayed from his belief in self rule and the people’s ability to get most issues right when given the proper information. He knew religion was key for a moral society but a society could not be lead by a religious doctrine. Jefferson knew that a representative republic was the best way to harness tyranny and befriended the leaders that held that belief even though they had limited understanding of the power of human nature. And finally, Jefferson knew that Hamilton was the embodiment of the forces that would need to be harnessed if liberty were to survive. Hamilton’s financial prowess and genius was a skill needed in the first years of the republic due to the accumulated debt of the revolution. But Jefferson often challenged Hamilton’s propensity toward an elite structure of government.

The lessons of Jefferson today are too numerous to state here, but his simple ability to determine the importance of many diverse opinions and skill sets, and direct them for the common good are sorely missing today. Leadership in government is a balance of determining the proper role of government, the emotional nature of the citizens it serves, and never compromising the foundation that makes it all worth the effort; Liberty. We can learn all we need to know about turning our country and its economy around by understanding our history. We can turn our future around by understanding Jefferson and his devotion to liberty…

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tea Party, Grassroots, and Party Politics…

The Republican Party is aggressively courting the members of the Tea Party groups, 9/12 members and the many liberty based groups that have grown in number due to their frustration with the Republican Party and politicians in general. Many of the members in these groups are frustrated republicans that want their party back. Back to the principles many believed were the platform they signed on to support. Republicans are not the only people that are frustrated, there are many people that are new to the process and they want the current government intrusion into their lives stopped. These people are very worried about their children’s future, as well as their own. They represent a significant part of these grass roots efforts.

There is no general statement you can make about any of these group members because if you dig into the reasons people have joined there is a diverse pool of ideas and priorities. The common threads I have heard are; fiscal responsibility, founding principles, which is another way of saying constitutional government, and common sense. There seems to be little sense at all in government, never mind common sense. But these groups know that the system is fundamentally broken.

My campaign is about getting back to our founding principles and I am no different than many of the people that have chosen to get involved in all of these groups; I have just chosen to go toe to toe with the politicians promising another round of, well, promises. I would never question any of the wonderful people getting involved in these groups to show “credentials” for becoming politically active. So why would people question ordinary citizens like myself about why I “qualify” or what “experience” I have to be Governor? Has government been so efficient that we can’t try someone who doesn’t spend his day distributing taxpayer money, instead spends his day creating and nurturing business? Are we going to continue to support “experienced” politicians that are responsible for this mess?

There are a couple of qualifications that most elected offices require; proper age, and citizen status. I exceed the age by many years and I am a citizen. What I am discovering and what is really apparent is that the questions come mostly from Republican Party members focused on one thing, winning back “their” power. They have this notion that there is a proper protocol to become a candidate and if you don’t start at the bottom and work your way through their ranks, you are not worthy. I can understand their determination to win back power, but they need to understand they have had power before and people are upset with the way they utilized it. I was in the Republican Party for over 15 years and I believe that the reform has to come from the hard lessons an election can teach entrenched politicians. If we elect a Republican we must do it not because of the party but because of the candidate.

I believe it will be important to beat the Democrats this year, not because the candidate is a democrat, but because democrats mostly believe the government is the answer, and I also don’t believe the Republicans should be handed a victory because they are not democrats. The Tea Party, 9/12, and liberty groups have really stirred the political “pot” this year by taking away control of the election process from the two parties. Maybe it is time to send a strong message that we are not only going to take away the process; we will choose the candidate based on ideas and not on the letter next to their name…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scott Brown; for President?

In the lead up to the election of Scott Brown, much hype and anticipation was thrust upon the Republican candidate as the “savior” to stop the healthcare boondoggle. There were even calls to elevate him to presidential considerations in 2012. Having lived in Massachusetts for 15 years I knew no republican candidate from Massachusetts would ever be a candidate I would choose as someone to represent me at the federal level. But that is party politics. If he wears an R after his name I am supposed to accept the good, voting against the healthcare bill, and bad, voting for the jobs bill. Where are the principles of his campaign?

Scott Brown was elected for one reason; he represented the countries frustration with healthcare. And he was elected by the country, just follow the money. But now that the one issue he was sent to stop is in another phase of process, Scott Brown has voted for a “jobs” bill along with the democrats. There is no such thing as the federal government creating a job unless it is taken from the private sector. I have many posts on this subject but the real point is; we need to elect people that represent principle not party.

The Republican Party can taste victory but if you look at what is happening with Scott Brown; is this the Republican Party you want to put in charge again? Not me, I want conservative, principled people, and some may be republicans and some may be independent, or libertarian, but the last thing I want is to be disappointed in electing republicans like Scott Brown to continue our journey toward financial ruin.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thomas Jefferson; A Simple Man?

I recently finished the book, “The Real Thomas Jefferson” and there were many things about his political philosophy that were, and remain critical to our success today, but one thing stood out as I look at the world today; simplicity. Even though he was a trained and skilled lawyer, he believed in simple language when it came to legislation. He spent time “de-lawyering” many laws in Virginia and was extremely suspicious of complex schemes in the Federal Government.

As I look at my candidacy for Governor, I often wonder why we have so many things in government that are complex? For example; why can’t the education formula for Colorado simply tie one amount to a student, whatever that is, and we can argue the amount, say $10,000 for each student (K-12) goes to whatever school they choose. Why doesn’t that work?

I have been to Government conferences in my private sector work and have attended classes designed to help people understand the complexity of government contracting, whether buying computers, aircraft, or pencils, the process is overwhelming and often teams of people are needed to sort it out. Why?

It comes down to two things when I sift through the complexity; trust, and trust. Contracting with the government is so complex because the people managing the contracts are not trusted to apply fairness in the process whether it is creating specs or awarding bids. And politicians want their friends to get the contracts and have in the past “rigged” the process, and so in order to guard against insider awards, a complex maze of regulations was created. And then there are the targeted, set aside contracts for specific groups of people that throw in even more complex specifications. In all this complexity the components most important in a contract for product or services gets lost; quality and price.

No one trusts the government anymore and there is example after example of fraud, abuse, and incompetence, but we only hear about the evils of business and the private sector. The private sector abuses are punished by market forces that can run private companies out of business. Government abuses seem to be tolerated, ignored, and often rewarded with more work or funding. But the reality is that the more complex anything is, the more opportunity for abuse. When we simplify, and people can understand why something is done a certain way, they are more likely to support an initiative.

Thomas Jefferson was in no way a simple man, but he understood that simple was better when you were dealing with government policy and building trust with the American people. Wanting things to be simple doesn’t make you a simple man; it makes you a genius. Just read about the life of Thomas Jefferson and I think you will agree…

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Out of Control and Back Again…

The prospect for a better future can never be realized if we continue to set our eyes on a central “authority” to fix this mess. This current economic and political mess was created because we took our collective “eye” off of the US Constitution and turned the focus on politicians in Washington DC. Since FDR we have ignored the wisdom of the founding principles of this nation and especially the Tenth Amendment, handing over the responsibility and accountability of our governance to a central bureaucracy in DC despite the warnings of our founders and the law of the land they so painstakingly deliberated to insure we wouldn’t end up in this exact predicament.

The first step is to stop asking our government to intervene in matters of individual or state business. The second step is to re-affirm our commitment to our US Constitution. The third step is to stop funding the federal government’s ability to borrow and spend against our children’s future.

We do that by getting involved and thinking differently about government. We need to look inside ourselves first, our family and communities next, and when appropriate we look to state solutions. But rarely should we look to a federal solution beyond national security or foreign affairs. As Jefferson and Madison believed; the federal government was to look to external considerations, all internal matters were to be handled by the state and individuals.

We need to go back again to the founding principles of limited government and individual freedom. Until we look in instead of up, the chaos will continue and our children’s future freedom and prosperity remains in jeopardy…

Friday, February 12, 2010

What is America’s View of Socialism?

A recent Gallup Poll suggests 36% of Americans have a “positive image of Socialism.” It is telling when the results are broken into groups. 53% of Democrats have a positive attitude compared to 17% of Republicans. Here is my analysis after reviewing the poll results.

The poll respondents were asked “Just off the top of your head, would you say you have a positive or negative image of each of the following?”; what we are actually seeing in the poll results is more about education rather than party affiliation. I say that because when the same respondents are asked about small business for example the results are basically the same between the groups. They hover in the 95% range positive. When asked about their image of the federal government we see 67% of Democrats with a positive image compared to 27% of Republicans.

I don’t believe if the respondents were asked; do you believe that the government should run all businesses in America? The response would be much different than the small business result. I don’t believe if you asked; do you believe everyone should get the same pay no matter what job they do or career they pick? The response would be overwhelmingly no. If you asked; do you believe that you would be better off if the government chose your home, school and career? Most people would say no.

The reality is that Republicans are more in tune with what socialism truly is and have not believed or been exposed to the same sources of information as the Democrats. Democrats have believed and been exposed to bad information, and have not been asked the right questions. Democrats have a belief that government is compassionate but again if they were asked; do you think public education in the city of Detroit has been successful? The answer would be no. The federal, state, and local governments are responsible for that but like many democrats they are not exposing themselves to the facts and results of government programs. It is not that democrats are not smart; they have not been asked the right questions.

Socialism is a destructive system that would ruin this nation. If asked the right questions or exposed to the correct information; the results would be nearly unanimous; the image of socialism would be bad, just like the system.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

When is Enough, Enough?

I feel like the American tax payer is under constant assault from their government. There is always a crisis of some kind that we are supposed to empathize with and then without question open our pocketbooks; again. I wish in my private life I could just tell my customers that in order for me to survive and live the life I want to, they have to pay more for my products and services.

But most of us live in the real world where the market and our customer’s ability to choose companies make it impossible to make such requests. I had to lay people off last year as many in the private sector have done and continue to do. The private sector and American families are cutting back and making the necessary adjustments to our budgets to survive this economic downturn but what about the government?

Sure there have been some layoffs, furloughs, and pay freezes at the state and local level but just look at the federal government. Do you believe the federal government will ever be happy with the amount of money they take from you and your family? When is enough, enough?

The last four days has seen the largest snow falls in history in our nation’s capital. Federal workers have been at home for the last four days and my life has not changed one iota. Has yours? I would suggest we could reduce the federal workforce by 50% and we wouldn’t even see a blip on the screen. The IRS is hiring thousands more employees, the census bureau is hiring thousands more workers but in a world of technology, why do we need so many census workers? If we reduced our federal government to its constitutional responsibilities how many people can we release to conduct productive activities that generate real economy?

I am not saying these federal workers are bad people, but bad policy has created useless bureaucracy and the government has become an industry in itself. That must change by electing people that are not part of the government “industry.”

Too many people are at the trough of government and have a self interest in perpetuating the industry. Government was never intended to be an industry. Read the constitution and get involved. You will come to the obvious conclusion; this government will never get enough of your money and freedom until both are all gone…

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jefferson, the Fed, and the Tenth Amendment…

In one of the many arguments Thomas Jefferson had with Alexander Hamilton in the first administration of the newly found republic, under President George Washington, Jefferson used these words to describe why Hamilton’s plan for a federal bank under private management was a bad and unconstitutional idea:

“I consider the foundation of the Constitution as laid on this ground”: that “all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited to it by the states, are reserved to the states or to the people.”…

Jefferson went on to argue: “The incorporation of a bank, and the powers assumed by this bill, have not, in my opinion, been delegated to the United States by the Constitution. They are not among the powers specially enumerated…” “If such latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or another.” Simply stated; Ignore the enumerated powers and there are no enumerated powers, the sky is the limit to expanded federal government.

This is the foundation of the “implied powers” argument used throughout history to ignore the true intent of the constitution.

How prophetic Jefferson was, and how we see over the years the federal government’s quest for power has given us a government that Hamilton always wanted, a government of an elite class of men with the power over the common man. My words, not his; his sentiment, not mine.

Jefferson fought desperately to stop what today is the Federal Reserve System. If Jefferson were alive today he would want to end the fed. Giving up the federal treasury to be run by “independent and private” interests in his eyes was a recipe for disaster. And the disaster is now upon us.

Jefferson accused Hamilton of “excluding popular understanding and inquiry.” He argued the system of banking and credit devised by Hamilton was so confusing no man including the “president or congress should be able to understand it, or control it.” Which he believed gave Hamilton a scheme to enrich himself and his cohorts within the system Hamilton devised.

These arguments between the two founders were the foundation of a two party system. Not the one we have today but it put people in two “camps”; federalists and republicans with a small r. The Republican Party of yesterday is in modern times what became the Democratic Party. The federalists were the big central government supporters that had the rich, wealthy, and British sympathizers behind it.

How times change but one thing remains true; the principles of our constitution are the key to our recovery and a prosperous future. If we listen and learn about our history and great men like Thomas Jefferson we can consider the paths ahead by using the great understanding that he had of government, to build our future.

He loved the constitution and it was he and Madison that promised the Bill of Rights to encourage the states to ratify our Constitution. It is time to revisit our constitution and our Tenth Amendment in particular. That is, if we want a prosperous future and one that restrains the federal government from intruding on out state and individual rights.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Don’t Get Fooled Again!

I was listening to Bill Bennett’s radio show this morning with guest host, former Republican Senator from PA Rick Santorum; described why he believed term limits was bad with a caller. He actually said term limits of 12 or 20 years were fine, but really, why have them at that point. His logic was that if you have term limits the only people that will know what is going on, will be the staff of the politicians not the politicians. Here is the problem with that logic; government should not be so involved with our lives that politicians can’t figure out what is going on within a four, eight, or 12 year time frame.

I wish every American paid attention to politics, then there would be no need for term limits but unfortunately that is not the case. I am not going to make an argument here for or against but the fundamental problem with the two parties is they want to keep power. It is not about limited government, it is about what new and expanded government program can be delivered by each party. Republicans have their pet supporters and democrats have another set of supporters. Both parties foster special interest politics over constitutional government.

The Republican Party can’t be trusted. There are some republican candidates that have conservative principles but neither party even talk about constitutional government. Constitutional government is not “sexy” but it is the law.

So as you review your choices in 2010, remember the line from that great song by the rock group the “Who”; don’t get fooled again! I guarantee that if you simply vote republican you will be disappointed. And when you are considering the Governor races around the country, support the candidates that are talking about the Tenth Amendment and stopping the federal government at the state level.

If you do that, term limits will be less important at the federal level and you will not be fooled again. The parties have lost sight of the founding principles of our government. A party that has lost their principles can’t be trusted…

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

News Flash; Democrat wins the Democratic Primary!

In the Illinois primaries yesterday for senate and governor a democrat won the democratic primary. This is great news for the democrats that have been struggling in the last three special elections to gain any momentum. This new found hope is encouraging democrats to continue to push through healthcare even if 70% of Americans don’t want it!

This is all you need to know about government run healthcare; Canadian Premier Danny Wilson comes to the United States for heat surgery. Enough said.

God bless the American healthcare system and Mr. Wilson. We wish him well and know he is going to get the best treatment in the world!

Let's keep it that way!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Capitalism; The fuel of Compassion and Freedom…

Too many politicians demonize the capitalist system as greedy and ruthless but that characterization is stereotypical and dangerous. It is stereotypical in nature due to the overexposure greedy executives get in movies, in particular “Wall Street”. It is dangerous to demonize capitalism because it is the engine of freedom, and without the profits and charity of successful businesses and individuals, we don’t have the funds necessary to protect our country or fund our benevolence.

The simple reason capitalism is successful is it harnesses the power of individual human nature to survive and compete. When this quality of human nature is incentivized within a framework of laws it unleashes unbridled dreams and passions that individuals have to provide a prosperous life for them and their families. It is only when the laws of this system are broken do we see the greedy aspect of capitalism. Greed is the exception not the rule. The ability to make and keep profits is the reason we work so hard and are so compassionate. If we were not able to keep the reward of our labor there would be no reason to work. You could be forced to work to eat and have a roof over your head as many a socialist system has, but this is counter to human nature. It fails everywhere it is tried. We as individuals do everything for our own benefit. Now this may seem counter intuitive to compassion but compassion cannot exist without first satisfying our basic needs. And capitalism satisfies those basic needs quickly and fully which fuels our ability to be benevolent.

In my mind it is simple so why do politicians continue to bash the system that feeds so much benevolence? Envy is the answer. Capitalism is an objective system that doesn’t care what demographic group you come from; it simply rewards and punishes behavior. It rewards people that work hard, create needs in a market, fulfill that need, and have the ability to change when the market does. It punishes laziness, bad ideas, and businesses that stagnate and become obsolete in the marketplace. It is the fairest system in the world. Although politicians claim to support fairness they actually thrive on creating a false sense of envy. They harvest the emotion of envy to fuel their own interests most often to get and stay in elected office. They take the fairest economic system in the world and claim it favors certain groups more than others. They ignore the hard work it takes to be successful and suggest that these people are only successful because they have an unfair advantage over others. It is completely false but for many people that don’t want to do the work or haven’t been as successful they embrace that argument and support programs that punish success; including their own.

If we want to remain the most benevolent, prosperous, and free nation in the world we must support capitalism. We must work as hard as we can to make as much money as we can so we can share our success with the causes close to our heart. The government has no heart and the more programs government creates to be “benevolent” the less benevolent people become and the more people are destroyed by these government programs.

Don’t be fooled by the stereotypes and mis-characterizations of people that are successful. It is a ploy that must be recognized and ignored. We are compassionate because we are successful. We should be proud of that in America. And it is only possible because of capitalism…

Monday, February 1, 2010

Manufacturers Welcome in Colorado…

Manufacturing is not just about jobs, it is about national security, personal and organizational identity, and it is about moral responsibility. So why do we punish manufacturers with overwhelming regulation and taxes?

We as a country have forgotten why manufacturing is so important, and the role it plays in our ability to remain free and prosperous. If we give up our ability to produce heavy equipment, steel, rubber, and other products, we leave our destiny in the hands of people that may be friendly now, but what about the future? China comes to mind. If we no longer produce, or we are producing weapons, aircraft, and other sensitive technologies in countries like China, how vulnerable are we to the political tides in China? We need to produce our own products here, and continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

We have always been a country that values work and being connected to great products. Caterpillar, John Deere, Coca Cola, Levi Strauss, LL Bean, to name a few. As individuals we identify with the work we do and having products that the world loves is a great source of pride for those that are part of creating and building these great brands.

It is a moral obligation of the representatives of the people to support the citizens it represents by enabling and supporting policy that create economic opportunities for its citizens. The free trade proponents of which I am one have to balance economy and ethics. I believe in free trade but I do not believe in policies that favor nations that have communist regimes, using forced labor, and ignoring common sense environmental policies. The cost of doing business has to include all of these factors but our policy should put America first. Not with policy that forces people to buy American, it should be policies that free up American manufacturers to be able to compete in a global competition for human and capital resources. The United States has the second or third highest cost of doing business due to our tax and regulatory policy. That must change. Union and management must be brought back together to compete and support common sense policies to build up our manufacturing base again.

As Governor I will propose and support policy that welcomes manufacturers, supports free trade by reducing the cost to do business, and create incentives for unions and business to work together to improve our competitive position in the world. Corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, and burdensome regulations will be targeted for reform or elimination under my administration. I will fight the federal government as passionately as I would a foreign government trying to run our manufacturers out of the country. We need to make stuff again. We need to keep the manufacturers we currently have healthy and help them grow. There are economic groups talking about this right now in Colorado and they need to know they will have my support 100%.

Colorado is open for business; including manufacturers!