The Keyser Soze School Of Ruthless Politics

If you’ve seen the movie The Usual Suspects then you know that Keyser Soze is not a nice guy. But he’s sort of the good guy.

Somebody is going to take advantage of you and your political party. It’s not a question of if, just when. And if you’re not ready for it, everything you’ve built could come tumbling down.

To quote the movie, this is what you’re up against:

“There was a gang of Hungarians that wanted their own mob. They realized that to be in power, you didn’t need guns or money or even numbers. You just needed the will to do what the other guy wouldn’t.”

And this is the Keyser Soze solution:

“And then he showed these men of will what will really is.”

A Test Of Political Will And Integrity

The ruthless political tactics that some people use are void of integrity. They’re so far over the the ethical line that it should be criminal. Most of the time it’s not. Not exactly.

With experience, you learn to see it coming and you can just walk away from the political deal. But even the most savvy political people get taken from time to time. And this is where you have to make a choice.

Do you keep your integrity intact? Or do you get ruthless?

Okay, let’s switch gears here and get a little more serious. The truth is, there are some good, solid political practices that you can follow when you’re neck-deep in it with ruthless politicians.

Real Political Solutions For Bad Political Situations:

  1. Stay afloat. Don’t ignore your good constituents. It helps you moving forward and brings some light to a dark day.
  2. Keep cool and calm. Overreacting is acting without thinking. The ruthless gang of politicians you’re dealing with expect it. They’re probably even hoping for it.
  3. Strategize. You need a comprehensive plan. And maybe tightening up the political ship. You want to figure out their possible reactions to your action. And how you’re going to steer the political situation to make their reactions mute. The best political plans forge forward no matter what they say or do. Or don’t say and don’t do.
  4. Be persistent. Stick to your guns and execute your political plan. If you can’t go around them, keep banging on the door until someone answers and meets your demands to rectify the political situation. Every day, go back and bang on the door again. And twice on the Sunday talk shows.
  5. Learn. Don’t get in deeper once you realize there’s a problem. And if there are similar loose ends in other areas of your politics, tie them up so it doesn’t happen again. Exercising some basic political due diligence is important. ‘Cause you never know.

Predatory politicians will always be around. They move from place to place constantly; they’re always there for a good time, not a long time.

Hold them in one spot for long enough, and just like sharks, they can’t breathe.

Sorry Keyser. We don’t need you on this one.

This column is an adaptation of the The Keyser Soze School Of Ruthless Business posted by Shane in 2007.

RELATED COLUMNS:

The Fiscal Cliff And The Keyser Soze Option

More Members of Congress Threaten to Take Economy Over the Fiscal Cliff

Clip from the movie The Usual Suspects:

Progressives: Focusing on the Micro, Ignoring the Macro

Many wonder why so many people embrace the progressive utopia.  There are progressives in all political parties, in every community, state and nation. There have been many theories put forward on why individuals become progressives. One that is not addressed is: Progressives consistently focus on the micro and ignore the macro. From finance, to politics, to public policy, to national security, to foreign affairs, to science, the progressive, like a laser, focuses on the smallest common denominator.

Progressives proverbially cannot see the forest for the trees.

Some practical examples are in order.

Foreign Policy – Take the current crisis in the Middle East and the progressive diplomatic approach. Progressives focus upon the Israel-Palestinian conflict ignoring the larger issue of the rise of radical Islam in the fifty-six members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). OIC members consist of 1.4 billion people, of which the most powerful militarily surround Israel. Progressives see Israel as the bully or aggressor. Taking a broader view one sees that it is Israel that is the victim of aggression on multiple fronts and from multiple aggressors. It is outnumbered, out spent and out manned.

Public Policy – Progressives view public policy in terms of the smallest common denominator – the individual. Programs are created not to make society better but rather to address the needs of the individual. Crime is a consistent problem, so progressives focus on guns. Control or get rid of guns and crimes of violence will disappear is the mantra. They focus on an individual case, such the  Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida, to make the case for gun control and against self-defense, while ignoring the daily violence occurring in places like Chicago, St. Louis and Philadelphia. If guns were the cause of murders then cars cause accidents and spoons cause obesity.

Social Policy – Progressives focus on contraception to reduce the number of un-wed mothers. Progressives ignore the larger issue of a consistent decline in the number of  wed-mothers and traditional families, the building block of every prosperous society. With more traditional families more children are welcomed as a good for society. It is single parenthood and the cycle of single parents begetting more single parents that is the greater challenge for society. Progressives subsidize un-wed mothers, while punishing traditional families. Abortion on demand deprives the US of over 772,000 new citizens each year. More than enough to meet our long term workforce needs, without immigration.

Financial Policy – Progressives focus on the 1% who pay more than their fair share of taxes, rather than the 50% who pay no taxes at all. Micro-managing a financial system such as that of any nation is impossible. Such management done by government leads to errors on a grand scale. Witness various nations with central banks failing in Europe and the West. Industriousness and entrepreneurship are replaced with risk aversion. Banks not longer hold the risk, government does. Homeowners do not own their mortgages, FHA does. Businesses do not focus on customers they focus on government. Economic micro-management inextricably leads to more government micro-mangers, debt and ever more spending.

Politics – Progressives focus on sub-groups and sub-sub-groups rather than fundamental policy. Big ideas are replaced with pandering to individual voters.  Attacking the political opponents is preferred to debating ideas and finding solutions for big problems. The more the bigger picture is ignored the more likely progressives will be elected.

Science – Progressives focus micro science. Evolution is micro-science. Earth science is reduced to single meteorological events and ignoring recorded weather patterns over long periods of time. The earth historically warms and cools in cycles. Climate changes by its very nature. Man cannot make nature, or weather, change. However, progressives focus on the polar bear population rather than the human population to create policy.

Governing – Finally, progressives govern in the micro at every level of public office. This is the mantra of progressives – think little. Whether it is regulating big gulps or what health insurance you may purchase they consistently think of ways to interject themselves in every aspect of  individual lives. From providing rules of behavior like eating habits to micro-managing entire systems like medicine, progressives are always there.

The only thing that will stop progressives is Herbert Stein’s Law, which he expressed as, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

 

Congress Forces Israel to Negotiate With Terrorists

Editor’s Note: I was a member of a Presidential committee that created the national security policy under President Reagan that the United States would not negotiate with terrorists. This lead to the Iran-Contra Affair where Congress accused the Reagan administration of trading arms for hostages held by terrorists in Lebanon.

This op-ed column was sent to me by Stanley Zir, author and creator of the NeverAgainIsNow.net website. Given events taking place in Israel and the Middle East it is worthy of consideration. The op-ed column is posted with the permission of the Mr. Zir:

House Votes Israel Negotiate with Terrorists

Introduction

This op-ed was written on July 16, 2011 exclusively for the membership at NAIN It was never published. We have wasted the last four years ignoring the fact that Congress like President Obama embraces a foreign policy towards Israel that gives equal consideration to terrorists. As a result the whole Islamic world now feels free to attack Israel with impunity, for they no longer fear America’s resolve. Even Iraq has joined this deadly exposition.

I am presenting this article, one among many I’ve written, about the Israel Palestinian dispute, because I refuse to spend another four years pontificating about the actions we must take to end this conflict, which is self – evident. . Liberty did not survived for over 200 years based on compromise with tyranny and fascism

Essay

It matters not that terrorists recognize Israel; it matters greatly that America never recognize terrorists. Members of Congress: How is it that you would take the liberty to curry support for an initiative that would require Israel to negotiate with people who elect and/or support terrorist organizations and agendas – based on promises signed on worthless pieces of paper – promises that you, yourselves, would never have the American people sign on to?

How can I, as an American, observe these acts of cowardice and betrayal? Am I supposed to sit here and watch everything our nation has stood for and fought against for more than 233 years be dishonored, desecrated, and defiled?

America: Israel is being consumed by the lie that the PLO and Fatah are partners for peace, when in fact they are known terrorists. It is our leaders who distorted the truth, insisting that reconciliation with the Islamic world through the establishment of a Palestine would ensure Israel’s safety, our economic security and prevent a third world war. Because of their absurd miscalculation, the whole world continues to turn a blind eye to the reality that peace cannot be achieved with populations who openly give their allegiance to religious tyrannical edicts.

As a result of their misstep, even as Israel, America’s greatest ally, faces the threat of Iranian nuclear attack and an imposed suicidal two-state FINAL solution, Congress still tries to convince us that America can avoid conflict and achieve peace with people who are willing to die to end our freedoms.

The representatives who signed the non-binding resolution ( H.RES.268) on July 7th, knowingly or not, embraced that position. Like President Obama, they have become nothing more than false prophets of peace, thus posing a far greater threat to Israel’s existence than we had ever envisioned

DAY OF BETRAYAL

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, July 7, 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted to reject a Palestinian pursuit of statehood through the UN with a non-binding resolution (H.RES.268). It also recommended the Obama administration consider suspending aid to the Palestinian Authority because of their alliance with Hamas, which is on the US State Department’s terrorist list

The resolution said the goal was two states, “a democratic Jewish State of Israel and a viable, democratic Palestinian state, living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.” Republicans and Democrats alike signaled their strong support for Israel and a resumption of direct negotiations.

Who could argue with a resolution so artfully crafted, appearing to meet all the criteria to secure the safety of Israel and bring peace between two peoples?

But for one critical oversight, they might have succeeded in their good-faith exercise. With whom was Congress asking Israel to begin negotiations? A Fatah-Hamas terrorist alliance? Or one with Fatah who revealed they are part of a terrorist initiative? Is there yet another terrorist alliance they overlooked that would be more suited to “guarantee” peace through negotiations?

The reality is, Congress’s call for a resumption of direct negotiations with the Palestinians and Obama’s G8 resolution are cut from the same cloth – both place Israel in a most indefensible position, insisting she negotiate with terrorists. D

What the Jewish people require from Congress is a Binding Agreement that demands that peace pacts with nations that embrace hatred of the Jews and the destruction of Israel be rebuked – and further demands that America’s allies unite in opposition to all who sanction the insidious belief that terrorists, fascists and Israel are equal partners for peace.

The non-binding agreement that Congress proposed was nothing more than the proverbial crumb to AIPAC and supporters, to provide the semblance of sincerity while diminishing the audience’s fervor and vigilance needed to maintain Israel’s security. And the audience was duped again; Israel’s borders were to be squandered.

Whether it’s Hamas or Fatah, whether you label them religious terrorists or secular moderates, the DNA of hate and destruction is what binds both political parties to a common objective – their determination to create another terrorist Islamic state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The attacks that Israel is facing from her enemies today are in essence no different than those America faced from Japan and Germany during World War II, which were for the sole purpose of conquest and subjugation of the human spirit.

In Japan, acts of suicidal bombers appeared under the dictates of a religious totalitarian government. The rise of absolute power in the name of the Sacred was a cancer that consumed the Japanese and filled them with hatred and disdain for other people’s beliefs – thus resulting in some of the most egregious acts of torture and terrorism ever inflicted on humans.

Like the Japanese of that era, controlled by their emperor, the Palestinians of today, under the influence of imams, still do not give a second thought to committing similar atrocities against innocents, and like Japan, it will only take a force — more powerful than the tyrannical god they now worship that can convert them to civilized behavior — to end their reign of terror.

The time for America’s bending to the will of oil extortionists and bowing to their tribal chieftains must stop! Free people cannot serve two masters. As the champions of freedom’s cause, America must support the Sovereign State of Israel’s right to declare an Act of War against any group, people, or nation who actively pursues the destruction of the Jewish State, a right reserved for all sovereign nations.

Congress must stand up now. Israel can no longer wait – the time has come to evict the Arab-Palestinian terrorists and end their occupation of the land they use to launch attacks against Israel. The time has come to end any hope of the PLO, Fatah, or any other terrorist affiliates have of making Judea and Samaria their homeland.

So that there’s no longer any doubt in any nation in this world about the actions Israel must take to protect her sovereignty, so that there’s no longer any confusion among the Jewish People that sanctions can provide a viable solution to end the Iranian threat, in the name of the Holocaust victims as representatives of the Jewish People here and around the world, “We, the Living,” have a moral obligation to speak out for Jews in need and/or in peril. Ours must be a unified voice of compassion and justice. It must be an unequivocal voice of strength, reason and protection against the “two-state FINAL solution” that would lead to the destruction of the Jewish State from within, and a mighty call for Israel to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure now.

When facing the lethal combination of terrorism and tyranny, WAR, not negotiations, is the only agent of peace. Withdraw your support from those who lack the moral courage to act. The window of opportunity is small. Only with a unified voice and one purpose of mind, can we and will we be victorious.

Florida Election Night 2012 – What you should look for

Posted on November 5, 2012 by Jamie Miller from Battleground Group:

Some people have asked me “what should I look for in Florida election night?” Here are my thoughts – I’ve grouped the Florida counties below in three categories – Strong Obama, Strong Romney and true swing counties. Every campaign has a path to victory mostly in these counties. These counties will indicate early if Florida is trending toward a 5-point win for Romney like 2004 for Bush or a 2.8 % win for Obama like 2008.

It does not appear that there is major intensity for Obama like 2008, but Romney is not an incumbent President like Bush in 2004.

Strong Obama counties –

Miami/Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Volusia and Alachua (Obama is going to win more counties than this, but these five are the counties where they can build bigger “swing” and will be a likely indicator of what Romney has to overcome to carry Florida. If Romney only loses these counties by less than 400,000 votes, he should have a very good night, but if Obama is able to push his margins in these five counties up to 500,000, he could be on a path to a victorious night.

Miami-Dade – In 2000 and 2004, Bush mitigated his losses here by less than 50,000 votes. In 2008, Obama won by nearly 140,000 votes. One would think Obama needs a margin of at least 100,000 if he is going to carry the state.

Palm Beach – The margins in 2000/2004 was 115,000 votes but in 2008 Democrats carried the county by an additional 20,000 votes for a 135,000 margin.

Broward – This is the big prize for democrats. Again 2000 and 2004 had almost identical margins of victory for Democrats with wins of 209,000 votes before Obama won the county by 254,000 in 2008. If Obama approaches a win margin of 250,000 it could be a long night for Romney.

Alachua – Home of the University Florida and the Florida Gators. This is a strong county for democrats that historically favors them by 14,000, but in 2008 Obama carried the county by an additional 13,000 for a 27,000 vote win.

Volusia – This is the home of Daytona Beach. This county often votes Republican in gubernatorial elections but normally supports the democrat in Presidential years. This county is an outlier in the fact that it is one of the few democrat-leaning counties where Bush lost the county in ‘04 by just 3,500 votes. GW and McCain lost this county in ’00 and ’08 by similar 14,000 votes. If Romney loses Volusia by less than 10,000 votes, it could be a good night for him. More than 10,000 would show stronger than expected support for the President.

Strong Romney counties –

Southwest Florida counties (Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee and Collier); Brevard County on the Spacecoast; Northeast Florida’s Duval; three counties in central Florida Marion, Polk, and Sumter; and Northwest Florida’s GOP strongholds of Okaloosa and Escambia.

Many of these counties mimicked each other in 2000 and 2008. So it could be these counties are a greater indicator of Romney’s strength and determine if the “GOP motivation” advantage is real. Obama did well in and really mitigated his losses in these counties in 2008.

Duval is the home of the city of Jacksonville and normally goes big for Republicans. George W. won here by 44k votes in 2000 and more than 60k votes in 2004. Obama didn’t win here but he lost by just 7,900 votes. Duval is historically one of the first large counties to announce vote tallies and should be a good indicator of whether Romney will do well in Florida. It is one area of the state that Romney did not do as well in the primary, however.

Brevard is one of Florida’s hardest hit counties by the great recession. It is one of the counties that Republicans can run up a large margin in just one area. GW won by 18k and 43k in ’00 and ’04. McCain split the difference and won by nearly 30k votes. So, it is more of an indicator of how well Romney is doing and not necessarily how bad Obama may be doing in the state. Romney needs to win here by 40-50k votes.

Southwest Florida – These five counties provided G. W Bush with margins of about 90,000 votes in 2000 and 136,000 votes in 2004. Romney really needs to be above a 100k vote margin in these five counties if he’s going to win the state. Obama lost this area of the state by just 74k votes.

Polk, Marion and Sumter counties are indicative of where rural counties are going to go. Polk is the one “non-swing, GOP, I-4 corridor” county. Republicans won here by 15k votes in 2000 and 2008. In 2004, Bush was able to push his margin here to nearly 38k. A 15k-vote win here for Romney probably shows a very close race like 2000 or a GOP loss like 2008. Marion County is a GOP county but is an indicator of how well a Republican is going to do in the state. GW won this county by just 10k in 2000 and 24k in 2004. McCain did well in this county in 2008, however winning by nearly 19k votes. So Marion is more an indicator of how seniors are voting and not necessarily an indicator of an Obama loss. Sumter is a former rural county that now is home to The Villages retirement community. GOP wins have grown every election cycle and I don’t think that will change. GW won here in 2000 by 2,400 and in 2004 he won by 8,200. Like Marion, Sumter County performed well for McCain. He won here by 13,200 votes. Anything less than that would spell real trouble for Romney.

Northwest Florida – The polls stay open here in the Central Time Zone until 8 p.m. (EST) and two of the larger counties where a Republican can build margins are Escambia and Okaloosa. If Okaloosa trends toward a 50,000+ win like Bush in ’04 and Escambia trends toward Bush’s 45,000 vote victory in ’04, it would be good news for Romney. The total of the 10 counties in the Central Time Zone needs to approach 180,000 margin for a big victory on election night.

That brings us to the major swing counties in the state. I include Orange (Orlando) and St. Lucie in this group even though Obama is going to win both of these counties. The others to watch in this category are Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco.

Orange County is the first county in the history of the state to switch from Democrat to Republican and now back to Democrats. GW lost here by 5k vote in ’00 and just 800 in ’04. But, Obama won huge here in 2008, by more than 85,000 votes. Obama likely wins big here again, but if it is “only” by 50k, it could be an indicator that Obama didn’t motivate his voters like he did in 2008. It is possible for Obama to win here by 100k votes and lose Florida, but it would surely be an indicator of a much closer race than most final polls indicate.

Hillsborough – Florida’s latest bell-weather county. This county, the home of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, voted in favor of Bush in ’00 and ’04 by 11k and 31k respectively. But, this county swung to Obama by more than 36,000 votes in ’08. No one is going to win by just the margin in this county, but it would likely be an indicator of how well each campaign’s television ads were received during the campaign.

Pinellas County is home to some of the nicest beaches in the state, but is also a “lean-Democrat” County. Bush won Pinellas in ’04 by just 226 votes. If Romney wins here, it is an indicator that he won Florida big. An Obama win here of 25,000 votes, might be an indicator of a long night for both campaigns.

Pasco County north of Tampa is also a county that democrats can win, but can provide large margins for Republicans. GW lost this county in ’00 by about 1,000 votes but won here four years later by more than 18k votes. This county is an indicator of where “swing” voters are going with their votes. These are also economic voters and Obama lost here in ’08 by about 8,000 votes.

That brings us to St. Lucie County which is nestled between Democrat strongholds in SE FL and the GOP stronghold on the Space Coast. Prior to 2000, St. Lucie was Florida’s bell-weather county, but it has trended toward democrats in the past three elections. GW lost here twice both times by less than 7,000 votes. Obama beat McCain here by almost twice that margin, nearly 15,000 votes. If Obama approaches that type of margin, he may be in the midst of an upset in the state.

So, who wins Florida?

We will know in just a few hours, but in short, it’s the candidate who motivates his base, mitigates his losses in his weaker areas of the state, and who is able to keep from being blown out in the I-4 corridor. My prediction? I think Romney wins Florida big, by 5-6 points. If it turns out to be a bigger margin than that, we could have an upset in the U.S. Senate race, but I think Romney would have to win really big in Florida, by 8 points, to provide coattails for Congressman Mack.

Jamie Miller from Battleground Group

ABOUT JAMIE MILLER

Jamie Miller is a political consultant specializing in political campaign management, strategic planning, public relations, grassroots motivation, and crisis communications. He has been involved with running and managing political campaigns since 1994. Learn more at Battleground Group.

REPORT: Child Obesity Caused by Single Parent Households

In 2010 Michele Obama made it her mission to address the “child obesity epidemic”. The goal of Mrs. Obama is to reduce child obesity from the current 20% of all children to 5% by 2030. WebMD reports, “To accomplish this, the plan makes 70 recommendations for early childhood, for parents and caregivers, for school meals and nutrition education, for access to healthy food, and for increasing physical activity.”

According to WebMD, “Obesity is an excess proportion of total body fat. A person is considered obese when his or her weight is 20% or more above normal weight. The most common measure of obesity is the body mass index or BMI.”

“U.S. kids haven’t always been obese. Only one in 20 children ages 2 to 19 was obese in the 1970s. But around 1980 child obesity began to rocket to today’s stratospheric level: Nearly one in three kids is overweight or obese, and nearly one in five is frankly obese,” notes WebMD.

What is the cause of this stratospheric increase in child obesity? ANSWER: Single parent households.

In July 2010 the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) reported, “Prevalence of childhood obesity and its complications have increased world-wide. Parental status may be associated with children’s health outcomes including their eating habits, body weight and blood cholesterol.” [My emphasis]

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the years 1988–1994 provided a unique opportunity for matching parents to children enabling analyses of joint demographics, racial differences and health indicators. Specifically, the NHANES III data, 1988–1994, of 219 households with single-parents and 780 dual-parent households were analyzed as predictors for primary outcome variables of children’s Body Mass Index (BMI), dietary nutrient intakes and blood cholesterol.

The NHANES survey found:

  • Children of single-parent households were significantly more overweight than children of dual-parent households.
  • Total calorie and saturated fatty acid intakes were higher among children of single-parent households than dual-parent households.
  • On average, Black children were more overweight than children of other races.

The study results implied a strong relationship between single-parent status and excess weight in children. The NHANES survey states, “Parental involvement in the development of school- and community-based obesity prevention programs are suggested for effective health initiatives. Economic constraints and cultural preferences may be communicated directly by family involvement in these much needed public health programs.”

Mark Mather from the Population Reference Bureau reports, “In the United States, the number of children in single-mother families has risen dramatically over the past four decades, causing considerable concern among policymakers and the public. Researchers have identified the rise in single-parent families (especially mother-child families) as a major factor driving the long-term increase in child poverty in the United States.” To read the full report click here.

Data from the Sarasota County School Board shows that since President Obama took office the number of children who are classified as obese is Sarasota public schools has risen as the children progress from Grade 1 – to Grade 3 – to Grade 6. The cohort obesity numbers go down at Grade 9. For example, 15.7% of students in Grade 1 in the 2008/2009 school year were obese. In 2011/2012 school year 18.8% of students in Grade 3 were obese. An increase of 3.1% of students in grade during school year 2008/2009 18.8% were obese. In Grade 6 that cohort increased to 20.1%. The Grade 6 cohort in 2008/2009 data was 21.5% and in 2011/12 dropped to 17.6%.

Public schools do not keep data on obese children who live in single parent households. 

Many are questioning whether the First Lady is addressing the root cause of child obesity – single parent households. Some see this health initiative as expanding government control of parents and children. Setting caloric standards is the first step in setting eating limits. Limits lead to control of food sources, leading to the redistribution of calories. Should not we be focused on the rising number of single parent households?

Perhaps it would be better for the First Lady to focus on increasing the number of traditional two parent families? After all, she has a traditional family and her husband and children all have normal weights according to the BMI calculator.

JUST FOR FUN:

As an aside, Watchdog Wire looked at some well known public figures and calculated their BMI scores.

Using the BMI calculator we determined that New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who is 6′ 3″ tall and weights 236 pounds, is overweight. If Tebow gains 5 pounds he will be categorized as “Obese Class 1”. In fact the entire New York Jets offensive and defensive lines are obese.

Muscle Chemistry lists the height and weight of actors. Those in Hollywood who are overweight according to the BMI calculator include: Whoppi Goldberg, Al Pacino, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt and George Clooney. Sylvester Stallone is rated as Obese Class 1.

Danger: Energy Economic Zone Ahead

Government is famous for wasting time and money all at the expense of taxpayers. The greatest waste has been attributed to the “green movement” and its efforts to save the planet by controlling human activities, such as emissions of CO2. This political and uniquely unscientific movement has led the Florida legislature to create comprehensive planning legislation, implement caps on carbon emissions and most recently create an Energy Economic Zone (EEZ) pilot project.

Sarasota County has established by ordinance an Energy Economic Zone. The first public hearings on the EEZ pilot project in Sarasota County are being held in September. Citizens and business will learn what the EEZ is all about. But what is end purpose of an EEZ? What will be accomplished by establishing an EEZ in Sarasota County?

My answer: The greatest expansion of local government power over your and my pursuit of happiness.

Here are ten reasons why I believe the Sarasota County EEZ will fail:

1. Any governmental expansion of power always meets with stiff public resistance and the EEZ is meeting stiff resistance. The EEZ has been denounced with bi-partisan support in Sarasota County. Neighborhood associations, anti-growth proponents and Democrats are standing shoulder to shoulder with TEA Party groups, 912 Project members and the Republican Party of Sarasota Executive Committee to denounce this project and its attempt to control the lives of citizens.

2. Economic zones do not work. County Commissioner Nora Patterson in an e-mail to an opponent of the EEZ states, “Our existing enterprise zone [in Newtown] is truly a depressed area and I can tell you in advance that the overall situation has not improved, in fact quite the opposite given the economic downturn.” So Commissioners know that enterprise zones do not work from the Newtown failure. Why throw good money after bad? Because it feels good to do so. The EEZ is being driven by ideology, not by any proven method to create jobs or expand the economy in Florida.

3. One of the purposes of the EEZ is to create energy efficiencies and thereby reduce energy usage. This is a FALSE premise as greater efficiency leads inextricably to greater energy usage. This phenomenon is called the “rebound effect”. Increasing the efficiency of lighting encourages us to illuminate more. This means that we need more energy, not less to meet future demand, expected to increase by 30% over the next decade. The EEZ concept is a fallacy, even if the five sitting County Commissioners believe in this fallacy, it is still a fallacy.

4. The incentives provided in the ordinance as currently written are not defined. This makes the ordinance open to broad interpretation by staff in its implementation. We have experienced what happens when bureaucrats are given the leeway to implement policy in Florida. This has happened with numeric water standards being imposed on the state by the Environmental Protection Agency. Placing Draconian standards on water quality to save us from ourselves. Standards that cannot be met!

5. The incentives are front loaded without regard to clearly defined end results. Under the current proposed ordinance businesses would be awarded incentive grants in addition to tax abatements for job creation. The business would promise to create new “green jobs”. This is a failed model, see reason #2 above. You and I do not pay a business until the job is done. In this case County government is so trusting that they will pay upfront for a promise of future job creation. The County has tried this recently with Sanborn studios. Sanborn Studios closed its Lakewood Ranch facility in December 2011 after just one year in operation. The company that promised to produce Hollywood movies, TV shows and create more than 100 jobs in Sarasota got a $650,000 grant from Sarasota County. It is good to learn from experience right?

6. The EEZ is “crony capitalism” writ large. Crony capitalism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth. The proposed ordinance establishing an EEZ is the ultimate example of crony capitalism. Government picks the winners and losers, not the free markets. This always leads to corruption and political favoritism.

7. Government does not create jobs! The great myth is that government can via incentives create something from nothing. Jobs are created only when a business cannot meet the market demand for its products or services. That is an economic fact. What can government do to help create a market for a product or service? Nothing, absolutely nothing. What government can do best is to do the least. That is to say government is best that governs least. Protecting property rights is the role of government.

8. All of the County Commissioners are Republicans dedicated to limited government and the U.S. Constitution. The Republican Party of Sarasota Executive Committee passed a resolution condemning “local ‘sustainable development’ policies such as Smart Growth, Wildlands Project, Resilient Cities, Regional Visioning Projects, and other ‘Green’ or ‘Alternative’ projects.” The EEZ falls squarely into all of these categories! A copy of the full resolution was presented to each Commissioner.

9. The County’s attempt to establish an EEZ has led to at least one law suit. According to Kathy Attunes, “The EEZ and attached Enterprise Zone incentives are separate statutes. It can be argued that the Enterprise Zone statutes exist independently of the EEZ statute (377.809), and these state Enterprise Zone statutes apply independent of any local eligibility requirements and a $300,000 cap. The EEZ green standards and $300,000 cap are not outlined in the Enterprise Zone statutes; the statutes do not mirror each other. We are concerned that the EEZ statute and linked Enterprise Zone incentives are in conflict, which potentially sets the County up for litigation brought by businesses who have met Enterprise Zone criteria but not County EEZ standards. We do not want the BCC to proceed with a program that opens the door to a flood of untargeted Enterprise Zone tax breaks, and the possibility of having local control negated by state statute.” I agree more litigation will follow.

10. Finally, this is just bad public policy and a waste of taxpayer money.

There are many other reasons why the EEZ is bad policy for Sarasota County but in the interest of brevity I have listed only my top ten.

I do not need nor want government telling me how to save energy. I am perfectly able doing that on my own. If I wish to waste energy then I will pay an economic price for that behavior. That is how personal freedom and free markets work. Government forcing choices upon me is morally wrong. The EEZ is morally wrong!

Which Presidential Candidate Sides With You?

Charles Schelle and Mark Maley in their Sarasota Patch column “Online Tool Matches Voters with Ideal Presidential Candidate” note that “Floridians’ presidential preference leans more Libertarian in this online free quiz that takes an in-depth look at your stance on a range of issues, then compares them to candidates’ responses … A new website launched earlier this year to help voters match up with their ideal candidate, and it’s quickly gaining popularity through social media channels. In fact, according to iSideWith.com’s homepage, more than a million people have taken the free quiz to determine their ideal candidate since it launched in March.”

The free quiz may be taken by going to iSideWith.com.

According to Schelle and Maley, “The selection of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s running mate has put presidential race into overdrive now that we know who all the players are.”

“But do you really know which presidential candidate best matches your stance on those issues? It may surprise you to find out who Floridians’ beliefs support,” note Schelle and Maley.

According to the iSideWith.com’s website Florida goes with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on domestic policy, healthcare and immigration issues. Who Florida sides with by party are: 51% are Democrat, 41% Green,  39% Republican and 37% Libertarian. This non-scientific survey shows Florida’s favorites in order: Libertarian Gary Johnson, Democrat Barack Obama, Republican Ron Paul and Republican Mitt Romney. Note that the three conservatives are most in line with how Floridians stand.

The question is will the Libertarian and Ron Paul vote go for Romney in November? Ideology may trump candidate support once inside the voting booth.

 

Commerce is the Profession of Equals

I recently had lunch with a good friend who is a commercial real-estate broker. After exchanging pleasantries we entered into an extended discussion of the role of government in the control of what my friend describes as “dirt”. Real-estate is after all basically “dirt”.

He was concerned that one developer can devalue the dirt of another developer.

He used the example of a “dirt” owner constructing a five-story building near the waterfront, something we have a lot of in Florida. Along comes another developer and he or she builds in front of the first developer an eighteen-story building, thereby blocking the water view of the first developer. The land value of the first developer declines because of this. My friend found this outrageous and wanted government to step in to protect the first builder against the second.

I said, rather forcefully to my friend, that this is an example of the free market working. Dirt rises and falls in value due to many factors, including the one my friend described. My solution was the first builder should tear down his five-story building and build a new thirty-story building, thereby regaining his view of the water and increasing the value of his dirt. My friend would have none of it. He wanted government to step in and prevent the second builder from building. He favored central government planning over market forces to determine the value of water front “dirt”.

Here in lies the problem.

In his book The Ruling Class: How They Corrupted America and What We Can Do about It, Professor Aneglo M. Codevilla states, “[The bi-partisan Ruling Class] proceeds from the premise of human inequality and leads to even greater inequality . . .[O]ur Ruling Class is making itself the arbiter of wealth and poverty. While economic value of anything depends on sellers and buyers agreeing on the value as civil equals in the absence of force, modern government is about nothing if not about tampering with civil equality.”

What my friend embraces is government as the final arbiter of the price of “dirt”.

Once government controls the price of dirt, it controls everything. According to Professor Codevilla, “[M]odern government makes valuable some things that are not, and devalues others that are.”

“Whatever else government may be, it is inherently a factory of privilege and inequality. Thus, if you are not among the favored guests at the table where officials make detailed lists of who is to receive what at whose expense, you are on the menu,” notes Professor Codevilla. This is the definition of “crony capitalism”. The bi-partisan Ruling Class teaches that prosperity is to be bought with the coin of political support. John Kenneth Galbraith characterized America’s economy as “private wealth amidst public squalor.”

I believe in the Catholic principle of “subsidiarity”. In the secular world, the principle of subsidiarity means that local government should do only those things that individuals cannot do for themselves, state government should do only those things that local government cannot do, and the federal government should do only those things that the individual states cannot do.

The title of this column is a quote from The Spirit of the Laws by Charles de Montesquieu who also wrote, “Peace is a natural effect of trade.” Beware of government eating dirt!

Watchdog Wire Radio Guest Line-up: July 9-13, 2012

Watchdog Wire – Florida radio may be heard Monday-Friday from 11:00 to Noon EST. Below is the current Guest Lineup for Watchdog Wire radio with the Dr. Rich Show on WWPR AM 1490 or listen live via the Internet at www.DrRichShow.com:

Monday, July 9 – Pastor Stephen Broden, National Delegate Republican Party from Texas will join Dr. Rich to discuss all things political. Pastor Broden, of Fair Park Bible Fellowship in Dallas, hosted the Constitutional Elections Summit held May 26, 2012. Pastor Stephen Broden is a contributor on Fox News and has been a guest on Huckabee and Glenn Beck. Pastor Broden will be speaking at an upcoming C-Span event to be held in Washington, D.C. Pastor Broden is a Black, Politically Conservative Pastor. Host: Dr. Rich Swier

Tuesday, July 10 – Don Dix, Director – Corona ACT for America. Don will report on the Election Year – National Security Briefing with The United West, and the status of the Jihad in Southern California. Host: Dr. Rich Swier

Wednesday, July 11 – Clare Lopez, former Operations Officer with the CIA and Middle East expert, will be analyzing events in the Middle East and the rise of Muslim Brotherhood controlled governments in Egypt and Libya. Clare will be connecting events in the Middle East to our economic and national security interests in the United States. Host: Dr. Rich Swier

Thursday, July 12 – “The Jihad in Boston,” with Rabbi Jon Hausman and Lieutenant General Jerry Boykin, U.S. Army (Ret.). LTG Boykin was one of the original members of the US Army’s Delta Force. He was privileged to ultimately command these elite warriors in combat operations. Later, Jerry Boykin commanded all the Army’s Green Berets. He has participated in clandestine operations around the world. This program will be video LIVE STREAMED on www.TheUnitedWest.org. Host: Tom Trento.

Every Friday is FREE SPEECH FRIDAY! – This is “You The People” Talk Radio. Giving local citizens concerned about local issues a voice to air their grievances and petition their elected representatives via the Dr. Rich Show is our mission each and every Friday. A citizen volunteer from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota Counties will be talking about local issues of importance to you. What is happening at the local City/County Commission, School Board and events planned in each county will be presented to inform and educate our listeners. The last segment on FSF is the “Voice of the Observer” with Rod Thomson, Editor-at-Large for the Observer Group Newspapers. Host: Dr. Rich Swier

Every Saturday is “Righting the Right” The Glenn Pav Show on WTIS AM 1110 every Saturday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. EST. Visit Glenn’s website by clicking here.

Please listen to the archives of our past shows by CLICKING HERE.