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Archive for December, 2012

I’m not sure what has been going on around Washington DC of late, especially in the back rooms were all the heavy negotiation is going on, but it’s clear what President Obama wants.  Obama does not seem to be seriously negotiating for anything.  He has been dangling offers here and there, attempting to portray he wants to compromise – but there is no indication he’s negotiating seriously.  But Why?  He doesn’t want the country to drive off the cliff – does he?  Let’s think about this – hmmmm, significant cuts in defense spending, tax increases for all – more revenue to spend…AND, he can blame the Republicans for the mess it creates.  Democrats have wanted to reduce defense spending for years, and think of what they could do with all the additional revenue – more programs to deploy to get more Americans dependent on the government.  But what about a second recession?  Well, first, it’s all the republicans fault anyway – and it’ll run its course before the next election cycle, doing no harm to democrats in office.  This is the democrats best chance to cut defense and have the blame fall on the republicans.

It is clear there is little interest at this point to solve the economic crisis we face – the crisis is government spending.  The crisis is also related to the beliefs in congress of the meaning of the word “cut”.  Merriam-Webster defines “cut” as “reduce amount”.  In congress, this really means, “reduce growth”.  BUT, then, Pelosi goes out and claims these so-called “cuts” are now going to take food out of children’s mouths…UUGGHHHH!  We have a bunch of spending addicts in Washington – and no one who knows what work must be done to reduce spending, improve efficiencies, reduce waste, and drive economic expansion.

When will the political posturing end!

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What has happened to America’s values?  Why do we have such divisive political campaigns, why do Union members physically attack other Americans who have different views, why is there so much hate in people’s hearts.  I know the love is there though – I see it when America is tested – after 9/11, after the shootings at Virginia Tech, and again now after Newtown.  Americans are a good lot, but for some reason, we keep it hidden.  I feel part of what this country has lost is an identity – Political Correctness has led us to be oversensitive of our beliefs.  We have become afraid to just be Americans – as it may offend someone…  Constructive debate is healthy, having fun is healthy, winning is a good thing, competition drives excellence.  So – we have little league teams that don’t count the score, we rarely have actual debates where complex issues are argued in more than just sound bites, we vilify the successful.  More importantly – we have failed each other when we are not well – mentally. Our evening entertainment on most networks has turned into nothing but trash, our electronic world is filled with ultra realistic killing games.  It’s not all bad news, there are shining examples of virtuous, tasteful, and clever entertainment.  What has happened to our value system, our identity as an exceptional nation.  I thought I might take the Boy Scout Law and identify what America needs to do to get back on track…

Trustworthy – Always seek and speak the truth, the whole truth – don’t hide the truth, or act unless the whole truth is understood.

Loyal – Stand up for your friends and allies – but being loyal goes two ways – don’t let you friends and allies down.

Helpful – Help those who can not help themselves – or need a hand to lift them back up, be generous with that help.

Friendly – Embrace others, their culture, their uniqueness, while sharing your own.

Courteous – Open a door for a stranger, thank someone, say please.

Kind – Care for each other, including our animal friends.

Obedient – Abide by the laws, but also be disciplined in your values.

Cheerful – Laugh, smile, help others to laugh and enjoy life.

Thrifty – Use your resources wisely – Money, time, talent.

Brave – Stand up for your values, don’t be afraid to take up the gauntlet and do what needs to be done.

Clean – Keep yourself clean – physically and mentally.  Keep your environment clean.

Reverent – Have faith – Have humility.  While this is a personal choice, I chose to believe in God.

What if we all would abide by this law – we seem bent on throwing out the 10 Commandments.  America needs to stand up and again establish an identity – through how we conduct our foreign affairs, with our own resources, with how we entertain and enjoy life.  All American should consider this simple law and take up the responsibility to follow it.  America needs to allow itself to dream again – to invent the future, a bright future.

So, are you with US?

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So this is what we get – this is what America chose – What were we thinking?  The election is over and the business of running the country is at hand.  However, the consequence of choosing a professional campaigner is now leading us to the edge of the “fiscal cliff”.  The problem is simple, the decisions that need to be made are difficult, and it takes a real leader to be able to pull this together in a way that will bring us back from the brink.  Negotiating by being completely intransient is, well, just obtuse.  So Obama sends his lap dog Geithner into negotiate with Boehner and delivers a proposal which in essence is dead on arrival, a plan similar to what not a single democrat in the House or Senate would approve – but OK – a starting point.  Boehner then submits a counter offer, which is a more reasonable offer with some compromises on the revenue side – but the President quickly rejects and stands pat on the position of increasing tax rates on the wealthy.  Not that anyone expected Obama to accept with open arms. So what does Obama do – CAMPAIGN (see previous post – President or Perpetual Campaigner).  First a photo-op with Mitt (see I’m reaching out), then a Twitter feed (tell us how a $2000 tax increase will hurt your family), then a campaign stop at a toy factory (wait – I thought the campaign was over) – Are ads next?  That is NOT leadership.  This country is not in very good fiscal shape and we needed a leader who would use his skills and talent to bring both democrat and republican to the table – to hash out ideas, figure out a solution both sides could work with.  Make the hard decisions to accept compromise, even on fundamental campaign promises.

So here are a few suggestions Mr. President.  First – bring together key leadership from the House and Senate, from both parties.  Go to Camp David, or other suitable quiet location, with zero press corps, take away cell phones, and limit contact to the outside world (meaning  lobbyists).  Second – spend the first two days developing a clear problem statement (no discussion of solutions).  It might go something like this – Government is spending too much money, government has efficiency issues, the government has specific obligations it must uphold…something along those lines.  Third – invite  several successful businessmen or women (try to keep a good mix of political affiliations) to the party to participate in identifying some clear goals.  Keep them high level – like… need to generate x billion in revenue, reduce spending by y billion – put time limits on it.  NOW, brainstorm on ideas – again, reject nothing – spend a day on this – keep the ideas in categories – revenue ideas, spending reduction ideas.  Assign values to the ideas.  Use the business folks to run some sanity checks on the ideas and the values assigned.

OK – we are about 4 days into this process.  Next comes the fun part – separate into mixed teams of 6 or 7 (democrats, republicans, businessmen on each team)  Give them 24 hours to take all of the ideas presented, with the values agreed and develop a proposal they will have to defend as a team.  Pick enough from the revenue column, and spending savings column to equal the agreed goal numbers.  I’m assuming you might have three or four teams.  At the end of the 24 hour period, they come back together and present the solution to the entire group.  Then everyone gets to, by secret ballot,  force rank these solutions – then choose the highest ranked solution.  Bring this back to the full House and Senate and hash out details, put into lawyer speak – crisis averted.

What is that – one week?  Please tell me WHY that approach wouldn’t work?  Think about it…

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