Sen. Rubio, we have to break up

I’m really sorry to just hit you with this, when you’ve been working so hard with the Gang of 8 on the immigration deal. For a while we’ve been happy together – you’ve been on my list of potential future Presidential candidates. But I’m sorry to say, our time together is over, you are off the list.

It’s not me, it’s you.Marco Rubio serious

It’s not your ethnicity, your appearance, or even your home state. I think you’re kinda pretty, and not EVERYONE from Florida is bat crap crazy. Really, it’s nothing superficial at all. Its what you do and what you say. You’ll be fine as 1 of 100 Senators for as long as the people of Florida are interested in having you there, but as for anything else? No thanks.

You joined the Gang of 8 with the best of intentions, I have no doubt. It was a huge task, a huge gamble, and I really wish it had paid off. There was really never any chance that the legislation would be any good, and it’s pretty damn horrible now that we’re getting to see it. But this was a chance for us to see if you are a leader or a follower. It’s become clear that you’re a follower. The fact that you are the “face” doesn’t make you the leader, it makes you the lead singer of the band

The legislation is amnesty first, enforcement last or never. The technicals of the legislation aren’t that much of a surprise.

  • It would have been GREAT if you’d been a strong enough pro-enforcement influence that you’d been able to persuade the other 3 R’s and a few of the D’s to come up with some actual decent stuff.
  • It would have been GREAT if you’d have been a good enough and strong enough negotiator to really shape good legislation.
  • It would have been GREAT if you were enough of a leader that your wishes had become the plan that the other 3 R’s followed

It appears that you became the follower of the 7 other members of the group. You may have tried, really hard, and that’s nice, but what matters is results, and the results are just exactly as bad as I would have expected had you not been part of the gang, so the measurable effect of your influence on the final legislation is pretty much nil.

That’s a disappointment. Leaders need to be able to guide negotiations, they need to be able to move the needle. As one of 8, you don’t seem to have done that very well.

Then we come to what you’ve been doing over the last few days. Denying that it’s amnesty. Using the language of the left by calling illegal aliens “undocumented”. That’s an inaccurate euphemism, and I can’t respect you for it.  You’ve started lying to me. So you didn’t just fail to lead in the negotiations, you’re now trying to convince me of something other than the truth. Your loyalty seems to be to the process and to the Gang more so than to the truth and the nation. Or you genuinely believe what you are saying, and that’s of concern as well.

So, while I will always think of you as one of the better Senators, and will rely on your reliably conservative vote on legislation, I can’t consider you a potential national leader. Good Presidents don’t usually come from the Senate anyway, that’s a really different skill set. I look forward to you having a long and successful career, but not as a Presidential contender.

Sometimes a Song…

Sometimes a song comes at you in a completely new way. It’s not a new song – you’ve heard it, enjoyed it, sung along with it, even shared it with others before. But then one day, you hear it again, as if for the first time.

It’s as if someone sent it to you, for you to hear it differently, to FEEL it differently, to get a different and important message from it.

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I’ve had that experience twice in my life, the most recent was a few days before Easter. Just driving along listening to Sister Hazel, as I do. Here comes Sword and Shield, from their album Chasing Daylight . “Ooh, I love that song, I’m going to crank it up and sing along, loudly and badly! Yay!” And then, boom.

This is God, talking to me, telling me where He is, how he fits in to the scheme of things, where to find Him.  The joy and comfort I got from just hearing that song. Truly wondrous.

I can’t even remember what I used to think about this song, what I used to think it means. My new understanding has obliterated any prior thoughts. Perhaps it was the nearness of Easter and the line “I would give my life before I break this promise to you” that got my attention. Perhaps it was my depression over icky current affairs that caused me to seek a reminder of the Source of Strength. I don’t know.

I just know that I am grateful to Sister Hazel for discovering their talents and sharing them with the world, so that I could have that discovery.

Songs have immense power – the rhythm, melody, and harmony of the tune change you physically and, I think, open up your mind and your heart. Then the lyric, enters and has a far greater effect than if you just read the words aloud.  As Poe said “..poetry has indefinite sensations, to which end music is an essential. Since the comprehension of sweet sound is our most indefinite conception, music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry.”

Give this song a listen, give the lyrics a read. I think you’ll find it reassuring, even in these dark times. I hope so, at least.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMHag0QnPDU

Just when the sky runs out of rain
Just when the sun runs out of light
Just when the earth is ill with pain
Just when your body is out of fight
I will be there
I will be the smallest piece in everything
And I would give my life before I break this promise to you

Melt in to me
Don’t you want to be the ones that last forever
I’ll be your everlasting
And enemies they take your will but they won’t last forever
I’ll be your sword and shield and
I’ll be your sword
I’ll be your shield

Just when the ocean starts to dry
Just when the air is sick with smoke
Just when the statues start to cry
And fallen angels they lay broken
I will be there
I will be the smallest piece in everything
And I would lose my life before I break this promise to you

Melt in to me
Don’t you want to be the ones that last forever
I’ll be your everlasting
And enemies they take your peace but they won’t last forever
I’ll be your sword and shield and
I’ll be your sword
I’ll be your shield

I’ll be your gracious angel
I’ll be your favorite stranger
I’ll be the mortar holding your walls
I’ll be your army
Just when the sky runs out of rain
Just when the sun runs out of light
Just when the earth is ill with pain
Just when your body is out of fight
I will be there
I will be the smallest piece in everything
And I would give my life before I break this promise to you

Melt in to me
Don’t you want to be the ones that last forever
I’ll be your everlasting
And enemies they take your peace but they wont last forever
I’ll be your sword and shield and
I’ll be your sword
I’ll be your shield
I’ll be your sword
I’ll be your shield
I’ll be your army

Lyrics from Lyrics007

What Now: To The States!

Washington DC is lost, in every way that matters. there’s little to gained now from paying it any attention. The path forward has to be at the state and local level – and not only are we poised for success, we are having success.

First we do need to acknowledge that Progressive efforts to make these United States into one democratic nation ruled from Washington have been quite successful. The change of our educational, cultural, and religious institutions has certainly worked. It took a long time to get here, it will take a long time to get back. Realize it, accept it, and then be free to figure out how to make things the best they can be each step of the way on the way back.

Texas Secession
NOT Secession, just a change in FOCUS!

This nation works best when it’s a Democratic Republic of 50 states joined together. Fifty shades of Red, White, and Blue. Copenhagen doesn’t know what’s best for Madrid any better than NYC knows what’s best for Houston. The election in November was an attempt to have folks in DC who understood that, and who would support the concept of releasing some power and control back to the states. That failed, so the job of taking power and control back will be a bit harder. That’s all. It’s not the end of the world.

So – reality accepted, task understood. The problem is that it’s so much easier to talk about national stuff, that’s what they talk about on the news, and since my social network of friends is all over the place, that’s the political stuff we have in common. All this “work locally” junk means that my social network is useless and I have to abandon my friends and go out in the real world. Definitely not, and probably not.

The great thing about social networks, is that we can share success and ideas, regardless of location. Success with the union stuff in Wisconsin helps the folks fighting that fight in Michigan. What someone learns from a school board meeting in Boca Raton can help the person at the Water District meeting in Topeka. Each one of us can act locally, but with the knowledge and experience of friends all over the nation. THAT can help us win. That’s where we have to win.

Jonah Goldberg has a nice post out this morning about the major victory in Michigan, he’s really talking the same thing – DC is lost, don’t waste your time. The state, county, and school districts are maybe closer to victory than you even know. He makes two good points:

  1. Progressives overreach, and the people don’t like that. Just because Progressivism is everywhere and it’s what the cool kids are doing, and they want to rule the world doesn’t mean they’ve won. It just means that people have been snowed. Progessivism seems great when it’s at medium, or even medium-high, it’s a nice warm feeling. Turn it up to high and people realize they are about to boil, and they jump out of the pot. BE THERE with a solution. The folks in MI were there with a solution, and they won.
  2. FACTS drive public policy, eventually. The people may vote, and the elected officials may make laws based on airy-fairy assumptions, hopes and wishes. But when reality happens, those same people will scramble to fix it. We see it nationally on the crap that they’re now trying to halt or turn around from Obamacare. It happens at state and local level as well. BE THERE with the recommendation, the repeal of the law, the countervailing policy, the local candidate who will do something different. There are state and local think tanks and other organizations ready to jump in.

Pick your pet issue, and go for it – locally. The great news is that the more local you get, the faster and easier you can have an impact.

I haven’t figured it out myself yet either, I haven’t picked a pet issue, I’m still trying to not be dejected and depressed. I’m still trying to decide how to leverage my wonderful G+ friends into action and success for the future. But…I’m beginning to see not just the GOAL, but a bit of the STRATEGY that I want to adopt.

I’d love some ideas, recommendations, and suggestions –

  • What’s the area that would have the best/fastest impact? Taxes? Spending? Regulations?
  • What’s the structure to target first? Neighborhood association? Water District? School District? City Council? State legislature?
  • What examples of success can we draw from?
  • Is it best to work around governmental entities entirely and focus on churches, charities, business groups, etc to increase the positive outcomes from them rather than to decrease the negative impact from the other guys?

The Basics: Profit – Don’t Be So Emotional About It

Profit
It’s not JUST money!

Some words arouse very strong emotional reactions in adults. When I stumble across such words, I tend to get curious. Is the emotion justified or are people’s emotions getting in the way of understanding? “Profit” is most definitely one such word. I’ve come to believe that the emotions attached to that word prevent rational discussion of ANY issue even tangentially related to it.

Maybe we can strip away the emotion, and just consider what the word means, and then we can start having rational discussions again.

Profit = Benefit – Cost

That’s it. That’s all it is. Benefit minus Cost. The word profit is an accounting term with some very specific parameters and implications for tax payments, but it has also been used widely for non-accounting purposes. Thus it has become more generic and less restrictive in its definition for most of us.

The expectation of profit is the reason for all conscious human action.

Why are you reading this article? You expect to gain benefit that exceeds the cost to you of reading it. For you, at this moment, the benefit may be knowledge, satisfaction of curiosity, sleep aid, whatever YOU define as benefit. The cost is electricity, internet bandwidth, time not spent playing with the dog, wear and tear on your desk chair, whatever YOU define as cost. If, after reading this article, you find that the benefit exceeded the cost, you will have profited from reading this article. If not, not. That’s it. It’s that simple, and that complex.

You see, I don’t know how YOU determine profit in the transaction of “reading this post”. I don’t know how Google determines profit in the transaction “hosting and serving this post to the readers”. I don’t need to know. I have an expectation of profit from the writing of the article. You don’t need to know what my calculations are. You don’t need to know if I succeed or fail in achieving that profit.

We don’t need to know each other’s business. If there is no expectation of ongoing relationship at all, we don’t need to even care if the other person profits. However…if there IS an expectation of ongoing relationship, then we BOTH should hope that the other person profits, because then they will return for a second similar transaction.

Both profit? What? When one person wins the other person loses!!! That’s why profit is BAD!!!!

Stop. You’re getting emotional. Stop feeling, start thinking.

BOTH sides can win in a transaction that is freely made. You are free to read or not read this article, and will, hopefully, gain more benefit than the cost. I am free to write this article and post it, and will, hopefully, gain more benefit than the cost. We will BOTH have profited from the transaction.

If you don’t profit, you will stop reading. If I don’t profit, I will stop writing.

If a company doesn’t profit, they will stop making, mining, or growing whatever it is they make, mine, or grow.

If employees don’t profit, they will quit working.

If customers don’t profit, they will quit buying.

Oh, and “non-profit” organizations that you have been taught are the “good guys” while the for-profit corporations are evil? EVERY individual who works for that organization does so because it profits them to do so.

Non-Profit Organization is a Federal designation, and that designation controls how they are taxed and what they are allowed to do with the profits that they earn. They have to put all of their profits back into the organization – as salaries perhaps. For-profit corporations are allowed to distribute profits as dividends to their investors. Simplistic? Yeah. But that’s pretty much the gist.

Once you realize that the desire for profit, the expectation of profit, the hope for profit, is the catalyst for all action, you discover how silly it is to get all emotional about whether or not someone ELSE achieves it.

Other people making profit doesn’t necessarily impact your ability to profit from the things you do. It’s not a zero sum game. 

The people who want you to be angry at those evil profit-making corporations and the Richie Rich guys who run them? They’re trying to manipulate you, via your emotions and your ignorance.

Don’t let them win. Be smarter.

The Basics: Goals, Strategies, Tactics

Ever get lost in a discussion?
Ever end up disagreeing with someone when you thought you were on the same side?
Ever get caught helping someone to achieve something you really didn’t want to help them with?

Sure you have, we all have.

Usually, it’s because we didn’t really start out understanding the basics of the situation we were in. We get into the details and lose the overview.

So let’s start with the basics.

You may be familiar with the goal/strategy/tactic model in business, or in the military. You use the same structure with everything you do, you just haven’t thought about it formally.

Bottom up:

Something you DO is a tactic. Why do you do it?
To accomplish some part of your strategy. Why did you formulate that strategy?
To achieve a goal.

Top down:

Something you WANT is a goal. How do you get it?
Formulate a strategy to achieve that goal. How do you accomplish the strategic objective?
By executing the tactics you defined as part of the strategy.

Same Tactic, Different Strategy, VERY Different Goals

Two people can agree on a tactic, even though they have different strategies, and different ultimate goals.

This is where co-opetition happens, This is where politics makes strange bedfellows.

Leftist and Anarchists work together to create Occupy Wall Street – raising awareness, getting media attention, making “the system” of capitalism out to be the enemy. They shared the same tactics.

Anarchists’ ultimate goal is NO government, the leftists’ goal is top down big central government. They’ll separate at some point, but they worked together quite well. Note that even though they had different GOALS, they actually shared the same STRATEGY in addition to common tactic. The strategy of defeating the right is one they share.

Same Goal, Different Strategy, Different Tactics

Two people can have the same goal, but be executing completely different tactics, and not need to know anything about what the other person is doing.

This is how two people on the same side can work at what may seem to be cross purposes, or, more common, neither know nor care particularly what the other group is doing.

Pro-lifers don’t need to know who Objectvists are. If they took the time to talk they’d realize they agree, but given time constraints, they don’t really need to even be aware of the existence of each other.

If both groups keep executing their tactical plans, they’ll accomplish their strategic objectives, which would be more closely related, and then they’ll reach the goal, which they share.

How is This Insight Helpful?

Awareness of this structure, and the questions that provide the movement and direction (how and why) really will help you understand where you are, where you’re going, who can help you, and who is hurting you.

It can keep you from wasting time on unimportant things.

It can keep you focused.