Tuesday May 03 , 2016
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Catching up on Administration

This posting will not be typical.  I need to catch everyone up on what is going on with the show and how things are evolving.  As the kids say, it's all good.

First, IMPACT with Sam Clovis is now a company.  On advice of my accountant and attorney, I moved the "brand" into an LLC.  There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the most important is to allow me more flexibility in producing audio, video, streaming and other products over time.  If the program continues to succeed as it is, there will be many opportunities to provide listeners products that will allow us to archive broadcasts and presentations.  Similarly, if the program grows, then there will be opportunities to expand our reach in a number of ways.

The second update is that over the course of the next few months, I will be making speaking appearance around the region.  I am working with some close associates to provide civic and professional organizations insights on the legislation pending in front of Congress.  There seems to be a demand for this information and I would look forward to the opportunity to provide that information.  Such activities also help spread the word about the show.

The third item of interest deals with the upcoming lecture series.  I have received a host of inquiries about the nine part series.  Below are the highlights:

  • The program will begin on the evening of September 2, 2010 at 7 PM Central.  The location is still up in the air, but we have tentatively scheduled the event in the UPS Auditorium on the Morningside College campus in Sioux City, IA.  We plan on producing audio and internet streaming for the event.  Likewise, we will be producing a DVD of the entire series.  I will also be taking advantage of all the research and will be writing a book that, hopefully, will be readily available to an eager audience.
  • The series will be called "Serious Civics: A Guide to the Constitution, Government and Governance in America Today."
  • September 2--Early Philosophy and Early America
  • September 9--The Founding of American and the Founding Documents
  • September 16--The Early Years through the Civil War
  • September 23--The Progressives and the New Century
  • September 30--The Early 20th Century
  • October 7--The Late 20th Century
  • October 14--Reagan to 9/11
  • October 21--9/11 to Today
  • October 28--Today and the Future of the Century

The admission is free and is open to anyone that wishes to come.

The fourth item of interest is the newsletter.  I was able to finally publish the first edition.  If you want to subscribe, please sign up.  You can do so on this site or you can send me an email.  I will add you to the list.  The newsletter is a work in progress so please feel free to provide inputs.

The next item of interest concerns our efforts to provide audio archives of the programs.  I have invested in a form of "TiVo for Radio" and will be working on posting downloadable recordings of the programs everyday.  Many have asked for this feature, so we will try to provide it.  We are also looking at ways to provide you more opportunities to engage in dialogue on this website.  More on that as we develop the ideas.

Finally, I want to thank all of you for making the show a success to date.  We live in interesting times and you are the best listeners in the country.  See you at 10 am everyday.  God Bless You and God Bless the United States of America.


The National Security Strategy

This administration has just issued a new national security strategy.  Unfortunately, what is clear from what has been released so far is that the people responsible for writing this document know nothing about the nation, security or strategy.  What comes across loud and clear is that this document is nothing more than a a thinly veiled restatement of a pernicious, corrupt and intellectually bankrupt ideology--an ideology most closely identified as an elitist-driven form of socialism.  Clearly, this document is useless as a roadmap for our military, our allies or anyone else that might have an interest in the United States remaining the single, exceptional super power in the world.  Let me give you some examples.

The national security strategy authored by this administration declares climate change and healthcare reform as national security issues.  These issues will certainly impact national security by killing jobs, depleting the national treasury, diminishing the national economy and lowering the quality of life for every American.  Can you imagine that raising taxes on every American family by nearly $10K a year will help our security?  Can you imagine what the rest of the world must be thinking when they see such a simplistic, naive declaration?

Another striking feature of the document is that Islamic radicalism is not mentioned as threat to the United States.  The last time I checked, there were 45 organizations on the US State Department threat list.  Of those 45, at least 27 were Islamic radical groups.  This group includes Hamas and Hezballah--groups this administration is actively attempting to engage.  Are you kidding me?

There is also no mention of securing the borders.  We have as many as 500K illegal immigrants coming into and staying in this country each year.  Since 2000, four out of every five illegal immigrants to come to the US is living in poverty, dropping out of high school, having children out of wedlock and not learning the language or getting the work skills to climb the economic ladder.  Depending on one's sources, illegal immigration costs American taxpayers $70 billion a year.  When all 14 million illegals are "documented," that cost will go to $210 billion a year overnight--that's right, the next day.  Right now, illegal immigrants, depending on where they are living illegally, have access to about one third of the means tested public assistance programs available from the government.  If all are legalized, they will have access to all of these programs.  The costs will fall mostly on state and local governments, the units of government that cannot print their own money and that must balance their budgets.

Another recurring theme in the national security strategy, and perhaps the one that is most offensive, is that America needs to level itself with our allies and other nations in the world.  This manifestation of nation-hating that seems to be pervasive in this administration cannot be allowed to persist.  It is the singular exceptionality of this nation that has kept the world as safe as it has been and will ever be.  We are the only nation that has the will to be great--at least, we were the only nation with that pedigree until January of 2009.  Since then, the president and those clones that surround him have been on an apology tour that is most unseemly.

The strategy is one of the most important documents an administration can put forward.  The document should express not only the intent of the nation, but should also reflect its will.  A nation like the United States is simply a miracle of good men and a blessing from God.  From great strength comes confidence and also courage and compassion.  November cannot come too soon, so we the people can get our hands back on the tiller of the ship of state.  Vote.  



The Flag Pole in the Yard

I grew up in a small village in Kansas.  The place was unincorporated--nothing but a wide spot in the highway.  At one time the place had a small train depot as the Rock Island and Frisco lines intersected on the east side of the orderly accumulation of houses, sheds and a barn or two.  I started school, only a block away, in an old brick building that had four grades in one room and four in another.  There was an auditorium upstairs.  The community built a new school building with a lot of the then moderm amenities, but what I remember most was the giant flag pole in the front of the school.  On that pole flew the American flag everyday.  Older students were given the responsibility to raise and lower the flag each day.  Many of us thought such duty was an honor, so no one ever complained about standing out in the cold, shaking the snow and ice off the rope, and then making sure the line would move freely through the pullies.  Most mornings, a small group of us would gather as our friends and classmates raised the flag, regardless of weather. 

In the late 50's, my dad volunteered to become the temporary postmaster of our small community.  He eventually took all the tests, got the Presidential appointment, and remained the postmaster until the end of his life in 1982.  My mother worked as the postal clerk, as Dad had a day job working for Kansas Power and Light.  So everyday for as long as I can remember, the rural delivery guy brought sacks of mail to our house around 6 am everyday but Sunday.  Mom or Dad would be up waiting, and then would post the mail into about 40 boxes.  Then, at around 7 am, our neighbors, one by one, would come into the post office to get their mail, buy money orders and stamps and catch up on the news of the day.  You see, the post office was actually in my house.  Dad partitioned off one of the bedrooms and turned it into a very tidy government office.  When I was older, I would go into the post office and use the typewriter to prepare term papers and letters of application to colleges and the service academies.  Some of my greatest memories have that post office in the middle of my thoughts.  I will never forget going in to tell my mother that I had been accepted to the Air Force Academy.  I think she already knew, but she never let on. 

Every post office is considered government property and as such must have certain features.  In the front of the house was a typical big blue mailbox.  Yes, people would drive up, drop off their mail at all hours of the day and night, but we had to have one.  No post office is complete, however, without a flag pole and an American flag flying every day of operation.  Seeing my Dad or Mom go out everyday to raise the flag was something special.  When I got older, I got to do it on Saturdays.  When I went off to the academy, my brother Allen picked up the duties.  You see, the flag was an integral part of our lives--something we touched nearly everyday.

I remember when John Kennedy was killed and my parents openly weeping as events unfolded.  I had never seen my father emotional over anything, and the assination of the president affected him like nothing before or after.  Those days, the flag was at half-staff.  There were other days when the flag would be raised to the top then lowered half-way.  Those days meant the nation was mourning someone or honoring something that was part of the American fabric.  As I grew older, I began to understand a lot more about our flag and what it represented.  Going into the service only reinforced those thoughts.

When my father died, Mom kept the post office open, even though she had every reason to close it for a day or so.  She had permission from the postal service to do so, but chose not to.  Dad would not have had it that way.  At Dad's funeral, his casket was draped in the American Flag.  I would always remember that Dad fought in two wars on two different continents for two very different reasons.  He was a veteran, and he was so honored.

In the years to come, I would be faced with countless occasions when the flag would be proudly flown, lowered to half-staff or draped over a coffin.  There were too many of the latter to count, it seemed.  I used to volunteer for the fly-bys for my fallen friends, mostly because being in the chapel was just too much.  Being in a jet seemed the best way to honor these fallen warriors.  Every plane I flew had an American flag on it.  I wore one on the sleeve of my flight suit and jacket.  The American flag was, as it should be, everywhere.

Much has happened since I retired from the Air Force in 1996.  I have moved often, changed jobs numerous times, found the love of my life and have finally settled into an imperfect but happy life.  I live in the country with my family and the dogs, but something is still missing from this idyllic setting.  At the urging of my wonderful wife, I think today I will go shopping for a flag pole to put in the yard.  I can't think of a better way to honor all who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this nation on this Memorial Day weekend than to place on my property a way to display the most significant symbol of the greatest nation on earth.  Yes, I will get a flag pole today.  God Bless all who serve and God Bless the United States of America.


On Being a Good Commander

The past few weeks have been particularly difficult for the nation and our current president.  I think the nation will recover on its own, because the nation has the resiliency to self-heal.  I am not sure such metamorphosis is possible for the president.  I think he is a hard-wired ideologue that is out of his depth.  The evidence supports my position.  In this posting, however, I will offer a template of the characteristics of a good commander and why our president falls short in nearly every area.

Being a good commander is really not difficult.  First, a good commander needs to be competent.  This means the commander needs to be able to do the key tasks of his or her office adequately so that those around him or her are not having to shore up deficiencies.  Nothing is quite as glaringly obvious as a commander that is unable to perform in a manner that can be respected by those with whom the commander works or by those that have occasion to observe organizational operations.

Second, the commander needs to be selfless.  Placing the good of the organization ahead of the personal gain is most important.  Selflessness also means the commander is compassionate and considerate.  Third a commander needs to be decisive.  This is not to imply that those that command should make hasty decisions, but that those in charge will make good decisions based on the best available information.  Again, decisiveness is dependent upon what is best for the organization, not for the individual.

The fourth, and perhaps most important, attribute of a good commander is courage.  Commanders need to be able to make hard decisions and then be willing to stand behind those decisions, even if no one else is willing to stand with them.  Physical courage is usually quite evident, but moral courage is often far harder to discern.  Those with moral courage have an internal locus of control that allows them an inner peace that permeates the entire organization.  Everyone else draws strength from these commanders and those organizations become particularly invincible.

Let us examine our president against this template.  Is he competent?  Clearly, he is struggling with the demands of the job.  He appears to enjoy playing at president, but I think he is out of his depth as president.  To allow him a little slack, he is not being served very well.  However, he chose those around him, and as our parents used to say, we become known by those with whom we hang out.  Only 8% of his appointees come from the private sector.  He has populated his staffs with academics and insider power elites that have no idea of how to run anything, let alone multi-billion dollar enterprises funded with the people's money.  Similarly, because he has surrounded himself with ideologues like himself, these people are tone deaf to and out of touch with the American people.  Because we really ask so little of our president in most instances, it is breathtaking the level of incompetence displayed by this individual and his circle of friends.

Is this president selfless?  Not hardly.  He is a Narcissist of the highest order.  His rhetoric is hollow and vapid, his imagination vacuous and his pronouncements are steeped in hubris.  Clearly, when he uses the trappings of his office to indulge his hedonistic pursuits, knowing full well he is presiding over a monumental economic collapse, he cannot hide his true disposition from the American people.  Perhaps his behavior is why no more than 30% of the American people think he is leading on the right path.

Is this president decisive?  Clearly he is not.  The latest revelations about the inner activities of the White House and the administration concerning the BP oil spill indicate that incompetence often leads to perceived indecisiveness.  Further, this administration has no problem admonishing the state of Arizona about seeking to protect its citizens while absolutely refusing to read the new law, enforce existing law or fulfilling Constitutional responsibilities.  His administration cannot come to grips with closing Gitmo, finishing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, trying KSM, recognizing Islamic radicalism as a clear and present danger or figuring out that government spending and raising taxes are bad ways to come out of a recession.  What was that latest unemployment number?

Finally, this president has no moral center, therefore he has no moral courage.  The total lack of recognition of ethical behavior speaks far louder than teleprompter talking points or the slobbering utterances of breathless reporters that are as ill-informed as those from whom they draw quotes.  Courage is a convenience to this president and his administration.  Such is a pity.

Take heart.  We are finding a great number of men and women that do have the qualities outlined at the top of this essay.  Everyday, we see more and more people showing courage by standing up for what they believe in and by speaking out against the deliberate and intentional assault on our Constitution and our liberty.  Things are changing now and will continue to change in favor of individual liberty, accountability and opportunity.   


It's Really Simple

I keep asking myself why this administration and the Duma-like congress are showing such contempt for the Constitution, the law and the will of the American people.  At first I thought the collective wisdom of this group, limited as it might be, was wrapped around the notion that they really did have a mandate to change the country.  They took their successes at the ballot box as permission to fundamentally change the very foundation of the nation.  Sadly, like most things progressives do, they grossly misread the results.  Now, cornered and injured, they are preparing to fight to the death to ensure and maintain the power gained in the last two elections.  Their machine, more sophisticated than the Republican machine, is oiling up for the long hot summer and the heated fall.  They will not go down without a fight.  However, as we have seen in the primary season so far, the leadership of the Republican party has had as many missteps as they have had successes.  That, frankly, is not a good enough batting average.  Perhaps as we move through this most painful legislative season, the party leaders will wise up and figure out that the Tea Partiers have it right.  They had better get behind candidates that can pass a pretty simple test.  Unlike my students in economics which I allow to start answers with "it depends," we cannot afford that with those that pose as "conservative" candidates.  Perhaps a simple test will help.  The answers are straight-forward--a simple yes or no will suffice.  If a candidate answers no to any of the questions, then perhaps we need to vet further.  If a candidates answer no to more than one question, then perhaps we need to look for a new candidate.  The questions follow.

--Do you support a Constitutionallly limited central government?

--Do you support the checks and balances and separation of powers in the Constitution?

--Will you ensure that the executive branch of the national government is not allowed to establish an extraconstitutional government structure that is beyond the reach of Congress?

--Do you support a balanced budget for the United States?

--Do you support a strong national defense that includes securing the borders and waging a relentless pursuit of enemies of the nation?

--Do you support an integrated intelligence apparatus for the protection of the country?

--Do you support keeping terrorist trials out of the United States?

--Do you support free markets, both at home and internationally?

--Will you refrain from supporting legislation that has earmarks, mandates or expansions of entitlement programs?

--Will you refrain from supporting subsidies of any form, except for national defense?

Remember, these questions require only yes or no answers.  Anyone that attempts to qualify their answers is not deserving of our support.  Let's keep it simple and not fall for the "it depends" and "it's complicated" caveats that indicate the real character of those seeking our votes.



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