Operation Red State Has Successful Launch on Tax Day after Des Moines Tea Party

We had a great time last night at the Operation Red State launch event.  I think everyone had a great time and it was interesting to hear, "I was so happy to find myself in a room full of conservatives that I've never met before." TRANSLATION:  There's so many more conservatives out there getting active and coming out to events like the Tea Party in Des Moines...and the ORS Launch...that everyone is meeting and developing relationships outside their normal sphere of influence.

That's a good thing.

Overheard last night:
"I'm considering making a run for Congress"
"This product tackles some key issues we're facing as a party"
"I can't believe the quality of this food"

Thanks to all who attended, planned, and executed the event.  Flawless is the best description I've got.

Political Rock and a Hard Place

Imagine what it's like to be President.  Your job is to make the entire world stable.  I wouldn't be so good at that one.   Mr. President Mitchell, what's your plan to stabilize the world: 

"We're going to cut everything that I deem wasteful with a blatant disregard for feelings and interest groups."  (Can you say one term?)

So the President gets up and tells everyone what he's going to do with our money and how the government will take care of getting us on track.  That's a decidedly different approach than I would take.  Mine won't get me re-elected.  Or would it?

These are the times when the fundamental beliefs in self-reliance and capitalism are challenged from all sides.  I hear it in the empowered callers on any talk show.  "See what capitalism and deregulation has gotten us!"  

Let's put the blame squarely where it lies.  On us.  We're fed lines by the politicos.  We elect and re-elect people who look us in the face and tell us what we want to hear vs. reality.  Those same people make rules and laws that allow bad things to happen and people to get rich and skirt the system we plebes must deal with.  Then, when the [email protected]#% hits the fan, we all get scared and empower those same people to fix the problems they caused with our own money again.

Drunking spending by both parties and our own apathy has earned us this position. Only we can get US out.  You OK with that?

"But I have Liberal friends!"

I don't often dive into politics on my blog.  Probably won't for some time now.  I just want to make an observation or two.

  1. I'm pretty darn conservative but I get along smashingly with my ultra lib (typically Democrat) friends.  They think I'm an anomaly among Conservatives.  Yet most conservatives I meet are similar to me.  Not right wing talking heads going down the list of recycled issues...rather critically taking on each issue and each party and giving credit where credit is due.  Someone commented to me yesterday that "You're one of the few people I can disagree with vehemently and still get along with."  That's just a bit odd to me.  I get it...but why is this?  My only guess is that "conservatives" that they see and hear are the pundits and eleventy year old Senators on talk radio and on TV.  We grass roots types are quite affable, approachable, and likable.
  2. Over the last XX years, I think most Republicans would say that the party is a bit lost.  Spending on both sides has been akin to the rush to the bar on payday Friday.  That tax/spend vs. no tax/fiscal responsibility has lost its weight.  Perhaps Obama's Presidency will give that back to the Republicans but my sense is that with all of the "crises" facing our great nation, we won't have the clear thought to figure it out.
  3. I read somewhere that historically, although the left is considered "tax and spend" and the right is "cut taxes and cut spending", the opposite has been true.  Apparently Dems talk about it constantly but can't execute on their plans.  Republicans are against it, but outspend their counterparts.  Interesting.  I've not seen the actual numbers or the report, but my gut says true.
  4. I paid attention to quite a few talk shows and comments yesterday and I'm just not pleased when people tear down an inauguration speech as lots of fluff and pomp and dreaminess. What the heck do you think those speeches are meant for?  Of course President's have to prove themselves and walk the talk, etc.  But it would be nice to put that on hold for perhaps 24 hours.  Maybe THAT's WHY the left gets upset at the right.  But let's flashback to Bush's inaugural, remember the exact same thing happened but with extra doses of venom due to the "theft" of the election. (Even though ALL forensic recounts showed the same result, etc.)  Can we call our parties even please?

Let's just soak up the fact that we have crossed a major point in the history of this nation and let's start to think more critically about the next 8 years and how we can recapture some of the magic of what it means to be an American.

Some number of years ago, my mentor laid out for me the concept of your "Vital Few Objectives."  Every CEO or business leader typically has a laundry list of 10-100 things they intend to accomplish over the next quarter/year/term, etc.  My mentor told me, "Doug, no matter how grandiose your intentions, at best you'll probably be able to execute on 2 or 3 of your list, so spend the time to hone that list down to your Vital Few Objectives or (VFO's).  Doing that will ensure that you make a massive positive impact without overloading the circuits."

I think one of our President's VFO's is "Showing humanity that anyone, anywhere, regardless of background can ascend to positions of wealth, power, and responsibility while cultivating a grounded family. "  He's already well on his way to executing on this VFO.  Now what are the others going to be?  I'm anxious to see what develops.


Image via WikipediaThere's a wonderful phenomena here in the Des Moines, Iowa metro area, and that's......ACCESS.  I feel so connected to things that were once "out there" like politicians, news personalities, business leaders, and community leaders.  It's really a gift that probably seems "normal" to Iowa natives. But to my Southern CA born and raised brain where LA was a foreign country 50 miles west, it's a real treat.

Well, there's this wonderful event that happens annually here called RAGBRAI.  It's basically an amalgamation of 15,000 of your closest friends who ride together about 450 miles across the state of Iowa in the middle of the summer.  Yeah, I know...something must be poisoning the corn.  But really, RAGBRAI is an amazing time of connection between Iowans and international visitors from all over the world. 

I'm planning a very big team experience this year as we roll across this beautiful state, share stories, and connect with wonderful rural and not so rural communities across the state.

Keep in tune with my blog for updates but this is going to be big.   Just imagine for now the greatest grass roots event in the history of the state.  OK, back to work.

Joel Kotkin Writes another Home Run Piece

Joel Kotkin has a piece appearing in Forbes called, "The Triumph of the Creative Class".  In the piece, Kotkin deftly explains the implications of an Obama Presidency as our economic and cultural leadership has shunned a more conservative industrial economy in favor of a more liberal brain based society.

The term "creative class" was popularized by former George Mason professor Richard Florida, who used it to describe those with both brainy business acumen and a very liberal cultural agenda borrowed from the bohemians of the '60s.

I swear that Kotkin must have accessed the part of my brain remotely that stores my "favorite words and phrases list":

Today the traditional business leadership, like their Republican allies, present a spectacle of utter disarray. The commercial banks have been effectively nationalized. Many traditional manufacturers, notably automakers, also yearn to suck on the federal teat. Reduced to supplicants, these companies have surrendered their standing as independent players. At the same time, the traditional energy companies, long the whipping boys of Congressional Democrats, will be fully occupied trying to survive the onslaught of anti-carbon regulations now all but inevitable.

The article is a telling and realistic analysis of where we're headed and how lost the Republican party is for now.  Today someone pointed out a website from the Republican challenger to an incumbent Senator in a blog post.  Can't find the link but will if my fellow Des Moines'ian chimes in to tell me who it was. 

The commentary that followed was tragically true and I paraphrase:  OMG.  This website looks like a student project from the nineties.  There was a link to a blog on the site.  Last update:  Early September.  There were a few YouTube videos but they were canned political speak.  Unreal. 

The creative class social liberals "get it" with regard to leveraging their economic power and their online power.  I was the FIRST to sign up for Obama's "Text Message alert to be the first to know who his VP pick was".

How Dare They

The President delivers the annual State of the...Image via WikipediaI've never been more beside myself.  In about 5 days, Congress was able to "come together in a bi-partisan way to rescue our economy."  Yeah right. 

The bailout will do little if anything to quash a global "paying of the piper" that's long overdue here in the USA. Has the report been published yet showing EACH pork spending crap that was attached to the "bailout bill?"  So for the Congress that represents us to get anything done...there needed to be $100 billion in miscellaneous pet project money that is the scourge of the political system today?  Bi-partisan my __________.  This was pretty much tax payer violation on the order usually only felt by roommates in maximum security detention facilities. 

As I type this, the market is plummeting.  Down 236....with every refresh it's getting worse (8:32AM central).  I pray that as Americans we pillory every single congressperson that jumped on this "bi-partisan taxpayer money lovefest" by voting them out on the street. 

I'm guessing however, that as usual, none of this will matter to the American voting block.  We'll re-elect them in droves because one blamed the other with better TV ads.

When you do think we might  see an organized "Don't pay your mortgage" by the boring folks like me with a 30 year fixed rate?  Do you think via social media, someone might be able to gather up millions of folks who pay their mortgages monthly to "walk away" from their payments to encourage a "bail out" of our situations? 

We're paying for this deal in so many more ways than simply "inventing" $800+ billion.  If you doubt that, look at the global economic news over the last few days.  Hey oil is below $90 a barrel...what no shouts of joy?

You know I tried to buy at least 10 foreclosed properties over the last year.  In EVERY case, I offered about 25% below market for houses that had cosmetic fixes.  The net result was that no offers were accepted.  In just about each case, the house, if it sold at all, sold for about 5% below market.  The banks said NO.  They sat on housing inventory for YEARS in some cases.  They never hired enough staff to process the volumes of foreclosures that were happening.  They assumed magically that prices would go back up in the short term so why give away $10k right?  Wrong.  They built their shanty....now let them live in it.  Now I probably couldn't get a loan to buy one of those properties.  They could have freed up so much more cash but they didn't bother with offers a paltry as mine.  So now I say....chew on it banks.    I don't want your money nor do I need it.

Liquidate their buildings, planes, and assets.  Let's once and for all return to reality and end this governmental / private banking / fine to make bad loans because we'll take care of things spending orgy.

Home ownership IS the American dream...but you've created a nightmare of global proportions while the CEO's and executives in the industry only have to downgrade from GulfStream to King Air.  We let this happen.  The government encouraged this debacle.  Are we ready to wake up yet?

Probably not.
Down 244 now.   


Airline Safety: Fines won't cut it

Image via Wikipedia

On the 12th of August I wrote that the airlines attempts to save money would turn into a disaster that reshapes the industry.

A mere 2 days later I read this headline from a piece on MSNBC:  American Fined $7 Million For Safety Problems.

American flew a plane that had a problem with the auto-pilot disengaging for no apparent reason.  Bad.

Here's a quote from the FAA:

"In intentionally continuing to fly the aircraft, the carrier did not follow important safety regulations intended to protect passengers and crew."

Wow.  Just wow.  If that makes you a bit squirmy in places...catch this quote:

The FAA is also seeking fines against American for violating drug and alcohol testing procedures involving several dozen flight attendants and other employees, only one of which was a pilot, Dorr said.

The airline also did not make timely inspections of its emergency lighting systems inside aircraft for several years, the agency said.

Double wow.  I've been loyal to American Airlines for over 10 years now.  Granted, I'm guessing the other airlines aren't much better but what is it going to take to make this industry right? 

I thought our safety was of primary concern.  Can we attribute these lapses to "cost savings?"  Are certain people "too busy" to get to these issues?  Are drug test results overlooked or missed because someone in charge just had too much to do? 

I'm asking the questions because I don't like seeing someone's hand forced by a regulating agency.  What more is happening that we DON'T know about?

McCain and Hussein

Here's the deal.  Cincinnati conservative talk host Billy Cunningham was disowned by McCain after he came out and whooped up the crowd saying, "Barack Hussein Obama" many times.  The implication of course is that he is a closet Muslim.

Whatever you believe about the use of Obama's middle name...it's RIDICULOUS to vilify Cunningham for this and childish for McCain to feign ignorance. 

If any of you happen to listen to 98.3 WOW FM here in town, Mr. Cunningham's show is on Sunday evenings.  (He replaced the "Drudge Report" sadly which was a lot of fun to listen to.)   Cunningham uses Obama's middle name EVERY SINGLE TIME he refers to him.  Plain and simple.  Literally 50+ times per show he calls him Barack Hussein Obama. 

The McCain camp had to know what they were getting into.  Back tracking and doing the Potomac Two Step doesn't help.  The hoopla is amazing and I'm sure that Cunningham's audience just doubled.

Debates will only help Obama

I watched the dem debate last night and it further solidified Obama's position as leader in the race.  Obama is not so concerned with being "right"...rather he is willing to "Concede and diffuse".  Hillary had a lot of things planned out in that debate: key comebacks, stinging humor, one liners, etc.  She only tried a few.  Obama seems to move along and doesn't seem to do the, "Half way answer the question but use it as a segue into your scathing attack point".  What was that, "You always ask me the first question" complaint about???

Hillary is much more accomplished at "Typical Left vs. Right" debating, but Obama is simply diffusing that skill.  She knows that if she gets "mean and really tough" she'll be done for.  Her tough comes off as Clintonian finger pointing.  No it's not because she's a woman and tough women automatically get labeled as....well you know.  It's because she represents everything we've had in the White House for the last XX years.  Obama comes off as a bridge builder and one who wishes to do good...vs. be right.

In the debate postmortem last night...even Chris Matthews was slapping Hillary around.  If HE is doing that without making excuses for HRC...then Mr. Obama...you are looking good.

Oh...and McCain was somewhere talking about how conservative he is.

Reagan was dismissed for using empty rhetoric too

I'll leave the politics of the matter up to you...but read this piece in the WSJ. 

Obama and the Power of Words, by Stephen Hayes.

Does this sound a bit Obama'ish?

"More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country, to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values . . . For those who have abandoned hope, we'll restore hope and we'll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again!"

Think again...

So Ronald Reagan proclaimed on July 17, 1980, as he accepted his party's nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Mich.

Obama by 8 points.