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Friday, March 25, 2011

Greek Rioters and Union Cheeseheads

Greek Rioters and Union Cheeseheads

Pride is a funny thing.  The Bible says it comes before a fall.  Those Democratic Party state senators in Wisconsin who fled to Illinois instead of doing their job now proclaim that they are “proud” that they defied the voters who turned out last November.  Clearly the “will of the people” is unimportant to the union bosses who own those state senators lock, stock and barrel. 
As an aside, I’m shocked that the state of Wisconsin allows demonstrators to invade and occupy its State Capitol Building.  This is allowed in a state where leftists have blown up buildings on the University of Wisconsin campus?  This is “mobocracy” at its worst.  It allows out of control agitators and demonstrators to physically intimidate legislators with whom they do not agree.  This is not representative government in action, it is thuggery in action.  While I fully support the right to demonstrate outside of public buildings, demonstrating and disrupting business inside goes beyond the pale.

The demonstrators, who at times stole their way through a window into the Capitol Building, were not representatives of workers, but of union bosses.  Consider the fact that public employee unions have an unfair monopoly status on all state workers in Wisconsin.  Then combine this with their unholy alliance with legislators who bribe them with financially unsustainable contracts, and you have a recipe for political corruption.  It works like this, the politician agrees to an unsustainable union contract and then the union provides millions of dollars in political support.  Today public unions have taken cities, counties, and states to a position of financial insolvency. 
Incredibly those who work in jobs that produce consumer goods and services are paid less than those who drag down our economy, i.e. government workers.  Our taxes go to those who now get paid more, and receive benefits befitting a king for doing nothing to improve the prosperity of our nation.  Nothing.

In Wisconsin, government school teachers get paid and promoted solely on the basis of seniority, not merit.  They have absolute job security regardless of performance.  That’s not good for the taxpayers and incidentally, it’s not good for the government school teachers either. 

Governor Scott Walker asked for some very modest concessions from the public unions, but they refused to negotiate.  He asked them to pay just a very small amount of their health care costs (like almost everyone in the private sector does) and to pay a small portion of their retirement benefits.  He also proposed that they must re-certify their union each year.  

After the Democratic Party state senators illegally fled the state, he offered through e-mails to make concessions, but they refused.  They reject the fact that their outrageous salaries and benefits are financially unsustainable and have brought the state of Wisconsin to the brink of bankruptcy.

While the union demonstrators in Wisconsin claim a camaraderie with the pro freedom demonstrators in Egypt, the more apt comparison is with the public workers in Greece, who when told they could not continue on their bankrupting course by the European Union, rioted.  The union bosses pulling the strings in Cheesehead Country are no different than the union bosses who manufacture riots in Athens.  The two are soul brothers.

The real reason the union bosses would not compromise or negotiate has nothing to do with the welfare of the rank and file union worker.  It has everything to do with politics.  Today the Democratic Party survives on the backs of the public unions.  For instance, in Wisconsin public union members are required to pay annual union dues in excess of $1,000.  That money is then spent by the union bosses to elect more politicians who jump and dance to their every whim.  

While the unions who exist within the private sector continue to shrink, the public unions have expanded exponentially.  Each election cycle they spend hundreds of millions of dollars to elect Democratic Party candidates.  And once those leftwing Democrats take office, they fatten the till of the union bosses so that the money will keep flowing to their election campaign.  It’s not only bad for taxpaying citizens and union members themselves, but it is also corrupt and it needs to come to an end.

States that have right-to-work laws (laws that forbid a union from forcing a worker at a company to join a union) are the most prosperous and healthy.  The primary reason for the so-called Rust Belt is the unions themselves who have driven businesses out of their states.  It’s not that Americans can’t compete in the manufacturing business, it’s that a union shop, i.e. requiring every worker to join a union, makes a business noncompetitive in the world of today.

The demonstrators in Madison have nothing in common with the freedom demonstrators in Cairo, and everything in common with the rioters in Greece.  Thanks to the Greek unions, Greece is an economic basket case that is pulling down the entire European Union.  

Either the voters in Wisconsin use common sense and back Governor Walker and the brave Republican Party state representatives and senators who stood up for common sense, or the state will sink into total insolvency.  What will happen next election day?  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Craig Kapp, RIP

Craig Kapp, RIP

Last week I lost a good friend to mesothelioma, a deadly cancer for which there is no known cure and that kills rapidly.  My friend and colleague went for a six mile run last August and afterwards coughed a few times.  He decided to see a doctor about it and within a very short time the doctors determined that he had mesothelioma, even though he had never knowingly been exposed to asbestos. 

Craig, a very strong and healthy man, put up a valiant fight, even receiving some very advanced medical treatment, but he lost his battle with this awful cancer last week.  He leaves behind a wonderful family – his wife, Susan, his son, Noah (fiancée – Tiffany), his daughter, Taylor, and his granddaughter, MacLean.

Craig joined our company about three years ago and he not only brought great talent and abilities, but also great enthusiasm and determination.  Craig was extremely creative.  His talent enriched our organization and was of great benefit to the clients he served, as well as to all of us.  He was innovative and successfully tried new approaches that inspired others on our team, as well as benefitted our clients.  Craig had the best success record in the agency for creating and mailing high performance fund appeals.

But as good as Craig’s talents were, that was not the measure of this man.  If I would praise Craig for some successful innovation or for doing some other thing that worked well, he had a simple response, “If it’s good it’s God; if it’s crap it’s Kapp.”  The first time I heard that it took me aback, but the more I thought about it, I saw the Godly wisdom behind those words.  

What Craig was saying to me and to all who heard it (and he repeated it daily) was that all his talents and abilities and drive and inspiration originated with God.  He was saying that “Every good and perfect gift comes from God above.”  (James 1:17)  That was Craig Kapp.

He unhesitatingly gave all glory to God for everything good he accomplished.  He was a humble servant of his Savior, Jesus.  He carried his Bible with him whenever he traveled and did so not only to read it, but also to witness his faith in his Lord.  He lived his faith.  He shared it unashamedly with anyone who had open ears to listen.

I had the privilege of participating in a Bible study of the book of Philippians with Craig.  His contributions to the study were often blunt but always insightful.  Some were put off by his blunt, straightforward approach to life, but unvarnished candor was simply his way.  What you saw with Craig was what you got. 

Of course, Craig was just like you and me – an imperfect sinner – but he strove mightily to serve the Lord.  I will miss him greatly.  He was one of those people that God brings into our lives who inspires us and who affects our outlook on life forever.  He would tell you that he was saved by the Grace of God.

My friend, Craig, was a proud American.  He served his country in the military and kept on serving it by supporting and working for groups that believed in traditional American values.  He revered our forefathers, believed in limited government, and sought to preserve individual freedom for his children and grandchildren.

Craig, of course, loved his family dearly.  When he spoke of his wife or his children his voice took on a special tone of love, care, pride and protection.  He talked of his wife and children with a smile on his face and a special glow in his eyes.  I know they find his loss immense and my prayers are with them.
The world was a better place because Craig Kapp was in it.  He was a friend, a colleague, a believer and a patriot.  He will be missed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Definition of Insanity

The Definition of Insanity

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  That seems to be the approach of the Democrats and their friends in the media to an oil shortage.  A few years back, the price of gasoline at the pump soared past $4.00 per gallon.  When that happened some folks with common sense suggested the time had come to aggressively open up public lands, including the swampy area in Alaska called ANWAR, to drill for oil.  The response of the Democrats and liberals in general was a whiney, “Even if we began drilling now we wouldn’t have any gasoline from those new wells for many years.”  Well, those many years have passed and nothing has been done to give oil companies access to known oil reserves.  In fact, at the urging of the greenies and those wearing tin foil hats, the government has further restricted access to known oil reserves!  The Obama Administration has used the BP oil spill as an excuse to shut down new drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

The idea that government can mandate scientific advance is nothing less than ludicrous.  But that’s exactly what the liberals in Congress and the current Administration keep trying to do.  They raise the CAFE (Corporate Automobile Fleet Economy) to a level that ensures that cars will be smaller, less powerful, less comfortable, less safe, and frankly, like the small cars in England and Europe.  The CAFE standards require that companies build automobiles which have an average fuel economy in miles per gallon for their fleet at some number that a bureaucrat feels is right.  In other words, it’s another case of big brother deciding what kind of car you can buy instead of you deciding what kind of car to buy.

The CAFE standards are a good example of trying to legislate scientific advancement.  It does not work.  It never has worked.  It never will work.

The idea that the USA should and must generate a certain specified portion of its electrical power from so-called “renewable sources” is just goofy.  It results in crony capitalism where those who are willing to play along, like Jeffrey Immelt at General Electric, agree to support policies that can’t work in order to get huge contracts for building windmills—a 19th century solution to a 21st century challenge.  Liberals love old, out of date solutions.  Let’s not build more highways at a fraction of the cost of building mass transportation, instead let’s build subways and light rail (an 18th century solution) to solve a 21st century problem.
Instead of progressives, liberals are more correctly labeled as “regressives.”  They offer no new ideas.  The only ideas they have are failed ideas of the past and distant past.  Every idea includes reducing the freedom of the average American.  Every nutty idea is paid for by hard working Americans who have more common sense than any of America’s self-styled intellectual elite.

Liberals place no great value on individual freedom.  In fact, they see the average American as an obstacle to their vision of an America that is greener, smaller, less powerful, and less traditionally moral, with a few designated intellectual elite running the country and the lives of its citizens.  

That’s really the choice before us in 2012.  This will be the point of decision for us and for our children and grandchildren.  We will either let government power continue to expand and grow until every aspect of our lives is regulated, controlled and governed by a self-styled elite, or we will return to the values and vision of our forefathers.  The choice is that simple.  Throughout the 20th century those who rejected the limited government model of our Founders continued to impose more and more restrictions on your life and mine.  Every additional dollar they took in taxes, and continue to take, represents a transfer of power from the hands of a free American to the hands of a bureaucrat.  

For a few years, when Ronald Reagan was President, we took the offensive and succeeded in reversing the errors of the liberal juggernaut.  But now they have seized a huge portion of the American economy through the passage of Obamacare.  Socialized medicine is something the left has been lusting for since the 1930s.  It is a huge step toward a European socialist state.  It means the end of America as you and I have known it.  You and I can wave farewell to the “land of opportunity” if Obamacare is not repealed.  Socialism and freedom are enemies and cannot exist alongside each other.

The liberals continue to follow the path of insanity, they keep following the same failed ideas and expect a different outcome.  Let’s end the insanity in 2012.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The End of the Middle Class?

The End of the Middle Class?

One of the great things about the USA is the middle class.  Nearly everyone likes to think of themselves as a part of the middle class.  Some might say that they grew up as a part of the lower middle class.  Others who become quite affluent will still say they are part of the upper middle class.  No one wants to be labeled as poor or rich.  Americans who are poor aspire to rise to the level of middle class, and most do in a period of a generation or less.  It’s a comfortable thing to be a part of the middle class.

The middle class, by general consensus, is where the heart of America lies.  It’s often viewed as the rock solid, hard working, positive, energetic, industrious core of America where American values and American fairness are displayed most prominently.  The broad nature of the American middle class shocked Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev when he visited the United States.  It scared him.

He wanted to go to Disneyland in the Los Angeles area and President Eisenhower obliged.  But it was when he flew into LA and saw the freeways full of automobiles and the endless sprawl of homes that he began to realize the strength of America.  He didn’t want to believe it, but the evidence was undeniable.  America had achieved what no other nation in the history of the world had achieved – a broad and quite wealthy middle class.  

The American middle class is the envy of the world.  You can go anywhere in the world and see palaces and dachas and big, expensive homes, but only in the USA can you find such a broad and expansive middle class that drive new cars, live in nice homes, eat well, and aspire to even greater financial heights.  Sure, Europe has a level of prosperity, but the homes are small, the cars are small, and frankly the range of aspirations is often limited by government regulations.  In Japan, Taiwan, or South Korea the situation is worse.  The cars are small, the homes tiny, and the government is even more intrusive.

But America’s middle class is under attack.  Liberal elitists detest the American middle class and their middle class values.  The middle class stands in the way of everything they want to achieve.  The middle class doesn’t like high taxes, big government, liberal judges, wild spending, or a decline in traditional moral values.  The middle class is by and large the part of America that believes in God, volunteers to help others, donates generously, and believes that the words in the US Constitution mean exactly what they say.

The American middle class is the home to common sense, i.e. wisdom.  They live responsibly, act responsibly, obey the laws and expect others to do so also.  They love America and may even tear up when the national anthem is played.  When America goes to war, the sons and daughters of the middle class volunteer to serve.  

It is from the middle class that America often finds its great doctors, inventors, engineers, scientists, and even lawyers.  And if the American middle class elects someone to public office, they consider that man or woman to be a public servant and act like one, not like a master.

But today the American middle class is under attack.  The Obama Administration doesn’t really like or respect the middle class.  In fact, they see middle class values and standards as an obstacle to their plans to create a “just” America.  

Obama is no fan of free enterprise.  He loves government control and socialist schemes like Obamacare.  Rather than have people decide how to live their lives, he thinks that a liberal elite can do a better job of telling people where to live, what kind of car to drive, what news to listen to, where they should work, etc.

Obama and his liberal friends see America and the American middle class as a sign that America is an unjust and unfair nation.  As silly as it sounds, they believe it’s just luck that some people get ahead and others do not succeed.  They discount hard work, risk taking, intelligence, perseverance, and determination as any part of success.  According to them, some are just luckier than others.  Now, of course, some folks do achieve more financially than others and some are born with advantages of intelligence or skill or location more than others are, but God decides when and to whom and where we will be born.  And He blesses who He chooses when it comes to skills and intelligence.  After all, He is God, and He is the one who created this universe in the first place.

The liberals’ goal is equality of outcome.  They tried that in Russia, but, not surprisingly, it did not work.  Of course, liberals say that Stalin and Lenin were not enlightened as they are.  They simply did not do socialism right.  They are more attracted to the European form of socialism, the cradle to grave variety.  But of course, Europe has never had the broad middle class that we enjoy here in the US and as nations they continue to underperform economically.  Just ask an average Frenchman or Englishman or German what nation in the world offers the most opportunity and 99 times out of 100 they will say the United States.  Everyone in the world knows this except for American liberals.

Obamacare and the global warming hoax are key elements in the liberals’ plan to cut America down to size.  Left to run free as it is under the Obama administration, the EPA regulations alone will ensure that America will never again return to the prosperity that previous generations enjoyed.  

And those seeking to rise into the American middle class will have the ladder of opportunity kicked out from under them.  They will be stuck where they are with no opportunity to rise as far as their talents, ambition, and God’s blessings take them.  The America that you and I have come to know and love will be gone forever.

But it doesn’t have to happen.  There is still time.  But in order to reverse this frightening tide of government growth and intrusion into our lives, you and I must engage in the political process.  We must become informed and then act.  Otherwise our children and grandchildren will not have the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the America we grew up in.

So don’t sit around and fret and let the liberal steamroller re-elect Barack Obama in 2012.  Start working and giving today to elect citizen-statesmen, the kind our Founders envisioned to represent us in Congress and in the White House.  Do it today before the sands of time run out for the Republic that our forefathers created.