Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

I was OVERJOYED by this headline:

Trump says each Cabinet secretary should slash 5% of their budgets after he pledges to cut spending

Remarkably, even one of the slipperiest* figures in politics, Kellyanne Conway, said something COMPLETELY INTELLIGENT:

“He’s asking them to cut the fraud, the waste, the abuse,” White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway said on Fox Business Network. “Cut the fat, not the essentials.”

I think Trump should have asked for 10% — in business that’s considering an easy and smart cut as it forces you to really examine all of your projects and cut the worst performing one — but 5% is fine to get this party started.

 

*  Sorry for tongue-tying word but that describes her perfectly.

Advertisements

I’ve often said that running a company with too little money is easier than running it with too much money.

I know that may sound counter-intuitive.  But not having money sharply clarifies what is important and forces you to focus on just the critical priorities.

In contrast, when you have too much money, the world is your oyster (so to speak)… so everything is possible… so most of the time you end up trying to do everything… regardless of how important — or unimportant — it is to the mission.

I believe that’s the problem with our military spending.  We have too much money.  We already can bury every other country in the world with thousands of nukes… yet we feel like we need to spend more… because… we can…

… because all we have to do is just rack up some more deficit spending.

What does this mean in terms of dollars and cents?  Way over half of our government’s discretionary spending goes to the military!

If that number was way smaller, I guarantee you that we’d get a lot more done simply by being forced to focus on our top priorities.

Whether you like him or hate him, Senator Rand Paul (KY) recently wrote an interesting piece that touches on this, entitled, Is Our Military Budget Too Small, Or Is Our Mission Too Large?  It’s short and well worth the read (underlining is my emphasis):

     Is our military budget too small, or is our mission too large?  Since 2001, the U.S. military budget has more than doubled in nominal terms and grown over 37% accounting for inflation. The U.S. spends more than the next eight countries combined.

It’s really hard to argue that our military is underfunded, so perhaps our mission has grown too large. That mission includes being currently involved in combat operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Niger, Libya, and Yemen. We have troops in over 50 of 54 African countries. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost over a trillion dollars and lasted for over 15 years.

Unfortunately, none of these wars have been authorized by Congress, and Afghanistan and Iraq have gone far beyond their original authorizations. And when all combined, these wars are draining our treasury. A country can only remain strong as long as it remains solvent.

In Afghanistan, we spend about $50 billion each year. Where does the money go? For troops and weapons, of course, but billions have also been spent on roads, bridges, and schools for Afghanistan. Seems a shame that bridges, roads, and schools crumble here while we persist in nation-building abroad. Maybe it’s time to do some nation-building at home.

Don’t get me wrong. I supported going after the jihadists who attacked us on 9/11. But that mission is long past over. We killed the plotters and their supporters. The question we need to ask is, “When will the Afghanis be able to defend themselves?”

Most conservatives believe welfare should be temporary, and that ultimately the able-bodied must stand on their own. Foreign assistance is no different. If the U.S. coddles and comforts and does all the fighting, the Afghanis will never become self-sufficient. People argue that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan. Not if the Afghanis stand and fight. We’ve given them 15 years of training and billions of dollars of the most sophisticated weapons known to man. Surely, the time for them to step up and fight is now.

Is it worth one more American life to try to build a nation for people unwilling to fight for their own country?

The recent 21% increase in the military budget will buy a lot of weapons, but it won’t win the war in Afghanistan. President Obama already tried that. Obama increased our troops to around 100,000, and, sure enough, the Taliban ran and bided their time for the inevitable troop withdrawals.

The Taliban now controls a sizeable area of Afghanistan. I just can’t, in good conscience, ask our soldiers to go back to Afghanistan to take back the same villages they’ve taken twice, first in 2002 and then again in 2010.

Candidate Trump wisely ran on a platform that the Iraq War was a mistake. But President Trump is surrounded by Generals who’ve never seen a war that they believe cannot be won. And so the wars continue.

My hope is that President Trump will remember Candidate Trump and tell the Generals who surround him: “Enough is enough. I’m bringing the boys home.”

 

And, I would add, “… so we can stop spending so much money on non-prioritized military stuff… so we have a hope of balancing our OUT-OF-CONTROL deficits!”

 

For some reason, I feel compelled to share an email thread I’m having with a friend.  It might represent the birth of a new political party… The Moderate Party.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Royal Farros
To: Mark
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 110:05 PM
Subject: From Royal Farros… re: WTF…

Hey, Mark! Hope all is great, it’s Royal Farros, it’s been a long time!

I just read about your WTF and the following quote:

          “We can’t just startup and be like, ‘Hi, we’re a new party and we’re going to run all these people for office.’

Years ago I would have agreed with you. But I’m not so sure now. I wouldn’t say I’m a political guy… but I am a responsible citizen, follow issues, and vote. I was a lifelong republican… because when I grew up, for lack of a better way to say it, that was the “business” party… the party that was fiscally responsible.

Hasn’t seemed that way for a few decades, though. In fact, I got sick and tired of extremist hijacking the political agenda… for both parties.

I wish there was a party for me… fiscally conservative and socially liberal. There isn’t, so I “unaffiliated” in 2016.

I was blown away to find out that, as of 2016, the largest political party was neither republican or democrat but — as I’m sure you know — unaffiliated… by a wide (and widening) margin.

So, maybe there’s a party for me… call it the “moderate” party… which is where, I believe, the majority of Americans stand. It just needs to be organized. Maybe you *can* just startup a party?

I may be way off base here, just sharing some non-expert thoughts.

Best–

–Royal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Mark
To: Royal Farros
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 10:36 PM
Subject: Re: From Royal Farros… re: WTF…

Thx for the note.

Youre saying dont bother with dem party. Start a new one?

Sent from my iPad

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Royal Farros
To: Mark
Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 11:33 PM
Subject: Re: From Royal Farros… re: WTF…

Mark–

Always amazing to me when a small, hot, killer start-up gets acquired by a big, lumbering giant. The small company always believes it’s going to somehow change the big company. But that never happens. Inevitably the small company gets chewed up in the machinery.

So, yes, I think:

* It would be easier to start a new party… than to try to deal with the “politics” — and I mean that quite literally — of changing one or both parties.

* Technology has disrupted just about every industry out there… and in 2016, add “politics” to that list. Proof? The Dems with a massive war chest, a massive infrastructure, massive mindshare, and a supposed massive lead… couldn’t beat a blowhard with a Twitter account.

* People — especially young people (yikes! did I just say that?) — are tired of the same old crap… on both sides of the isle. I heard tonight that a big Republican is becoming (or threatening to become) unaffiliated. I suspect a lot of moderate politicians don’t really like aligning themselves with the loonies in their parties. Said even more strongly, there probably are a lot of moderate Democrats and Republicans that share more core values with each other than the extremist in their parties. All of this means that a new moderate party would probably have a fair number of qualified incumbents from both sides of the isle signing up — bringing with them a ready-built voter base.

The iParty. ;)

–Royal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

I like celebrity gossip.  But I don’t like celebrities that are knuckleheads and waste my time… I simply don’t listen or read anything about them.  I “vote” by turning them off.

Kanye West is a good example.  West doesn’t have any talent in my opinion… nor does he have anything cogent to say.  And whether you like or dislike Taylor Swift, West was simply a bully to the young girl several years back at the Grammys.  Therefore, I choose to live a “Kanye West-free” life.

Meryl Streep — probably THE MOST IMPORTANT ACTRESS OF OUR TIME — tee’d off on President-Elect Trump at the Golden Globes the other night.

Even if biased, she did so professionally… tastefully… and effectively.

All the news headlines the next day were about Trump’s tweets in response.

Knowing (dreading?) what I’d see, I almost choose not to look at these stories…

… and then it hit me smack in the face that I — literally — almost relegated the future President of the United States of America to buffoon status!

How can you ignore the President of the United States of America?  You can’t.

So I looked at what he wrote.

It was worse than I could even imagine.

Will someone tell Trump that HE WON… HE’S PRESIDENT… and he doesn’t have to keep acting like an idiot?

He could have taken the high road, something like:

          “I apologize to Ms. Streep if there are things I am doing that she may not agree with.  It is certainly her right as an American citizen to voice her concerns.  She is a wonderful actress.  I only hope at the end of my term America will be better off than it is today and that history will remember me similarly.  I appreciate being given a chance.”

THAT would have blown people away… because THAT is the REASONABLE response from a person that doesn’t have to immaturely squabble and bicker… because THAT person already occupies THE HIGHEST SEAT IN THE LAND.

You’re already President, President-Elect Trump, PLEASE START ACTING LIKE IT!

Donald J. Trump is the 45th President of the United States.

I’d love to know what the odds of Trump winning were from his very first presidential rally… one I remember like it was yesterday… the one where Trump bragged about “thousands and thousands of supporters” in attendance… but most media reports pegged at barely a hundred or so of allegedly paid participants.

The odds had to be astronomical.

My take is the American people voted for N-ABC… Not Another Bush or Clinton.  People were — are — simply fed up with politicians being, well, politicians.

I get that in spades.

The good news is we get an outsider that has been both a democrat and republican during his lifetime.  And a business person.  After watching the left and right hijack the election agenda for waaay too long, maybe Trump will finally be what I’ve always looked for:  A fiscally-responsible moderate.  Common sense about money… and freedom to let people “live & let live.”

The bad news is our new president is a blowhard.  And a spin-meister… someone I feel like I have to fact check every time he opens his mouth.

For the sake of the United States of America and the entire world, fingers crossed that the good outweighs the bad.

CNBC did a fascinating analysis of who’s better for the stock market, a Democrat or Republican.

Below are the visuals.

While the initial conclusion here is, “Democrats are better for the stock market”… I believe what these charts actually show is what happens when the Republican party abandons its long-standing partyline of being fiscally responsible.

That is to say, while it may have been helpful to the military complex, dragging us into needless and endless and massively expensive military action is simply bad for business.

I think the charts below prove that in spades.

 

This is the first election that I can recall where there are no bumper stickers.

The reason is obvious:  Everyone is embarrassed by the candidates.

Here’s a bumper sticker that I made that describes how I feel:

election-2016-do-over-bumper-sticker

And here’s one inspired from something my daughter said:

election-2016-nobody-bumper-sticker