Sunday, December 4, 2016

The War on Cash: The Digitization of Money

The big banks have been failing for some time now.  Remember T.A.R.P. and the bank bailouts?  Let us not forget this was done under a Republican president, George W. Bush.  Who could forget Bush's line that he had to violate free market principles to save the free market?  As the world of "too big too fail" spreads, the free market cannot operate.  Because nothing in Washington D.C. changed post-bailout, we find ourselves with the big banks having become even bigger and the economy even shakier.  When the big banks invest well, they pay themselves handsomely.  When they invest poorly, they come after your funds.

Most people think of their bank account as a safe deposit box.  We willingly take our money to the bank for safe keeping, right?  Wrong.  A bank account is an unsecured loan to the bank itself.    Banks use our money they have on deposit in order to secure the ability to loan out money to other customers such as small business loans and mortgages.  When the bank goes down, account holders are last in line to gain access to their own money.

The big banks do not like the idea of citizens holding large amounts of cash outside of its vaults.  The real game at work is the idea of negative interest rates.  This means banks charge you for holding your money.  You put money into the bank and end up with less at the end of the year.  Under free market principles, if we were charged to deposit our money, we would hold more cash at home and take it out of the bank.  A mass exodus would collapse banking systems and economies around the world.  Instead of a bailout this time, they need a bail-in; a forced, mass deposit of cash trapped in the big banks.  Central banks around the world need to push us into negative interest rates, but cannot get around the free market.  Until now.

The bail-in is the perfect option for the Central Banks if only they could devise a way to trap money in the big banks.  As we go through the recent examples let us remember one of the favorite progressive tactics which is to sell a loss of freedom as something that will provide security, stop criminals and/or is needed due to an emergency.  In addition, the goal is two fold.  It forces money into the banks and also forces spending.  How does the government force people to spend money in the economy?  Punish them for saving their money.  It provides a temporary bump in the economy.

If this sounds like conspiracy nonsense, let's take a look at what has happened in the last month with currencies around the world.  In the last month, India's Prime Minister Modi suddenly banned the 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, which is approximately equivalent to the U.S. $10 and $20 bills.  It was promised this would stop criminals.  Of course, the exact opposite occurred and money laundering is spreading at a rapid rate and the poor are suffering.  For more Check out this Bloomberg article by Anto Anthony.

Citibank decided to create cashless bank branches in Australia.  The bank branches will simply no longer deal in cash.  The following article describes how this phenomenon is occurring not only in Australia, but in Sweden as well. Business Insider Australia Article.

We need not say much more about Venezuela.  Venezuela's currency is so devalued people are bringing wheelbarrows of coins to buy toilet paper.  Well not toilet paper, considering they don't have any to buy in the country.  But you get the point. 

As whispers in the Fed continue about banning the $100 and $50 bills, why is the media not warning us all about this?  Although there are the occasional business articles about these occurrences, I really only hear Glenn Beck and Chris Martenson from talking about these warning signs.  Once we are locked into a cashless society, we are ever traceable and forced into the banking systems.  With the 24-hour news cycle this should be all over the news.  Unfortunately, most of us have no idea of any of this because the media remains silent. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Lifting the Reality TV Veil: The Real Housewives

Andy Cohen
Photo Courtesy of Digitas Photos via flickr
Andy Cohen certainly got it right when it comes to reality TV.  For those of you who don't know, Andy Cohen is the brain behind The Real Housewives franchise and BravoTV programming.  He went from relatively unknown TV producer to celebrity host of Watch What Happens Live!, Real Housewives producer, Real Housewives Reunion host, author and BravoTV executive.  To put it simply, Andy Cohen is the face of BravoTV.  Cohen found television gold in Housewives.  He described seeing women living "behind the gates" thinking it would be fascinating to document their lives.  The reality TV boom had arrived and the airwaves were ripe for a hit.
And what a hit he had.  The Real Housewives took pop culture by storm.  What started as one show grew into a franchise.  The original show launched as The Real Housewives of Orange County.  The ladies of the OC were so successful there are now franchises in Beverly Hills, Dallas, New York, New Jersey, Potomac and Atlanta (not to forget the defunct D.C. and Miami franchises).  The franchise has even gone international with BravoTV hitting the airwaves in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.  The Real Housewives of Melbourne and Ladies of London have become hits in their own right.

What we, the audience, loved was the peek inside their private lives.  It was fascinating to see women with money, power and, in some cases, royal titles running around exclusive circles.  Not to mention the fact that the interaction between the ladies was epic.  Cohen has mentioned that the winning equation is usually when the women have prior relationships or at least know each other prior to coming on the show.  It brings to the show an entire history of real issues to exploit.  If you watch the New Jersey franchise you know exactly what he means.

Unlike the Housewives, many of the first reality shows were aimed at teens and young adults.  A perfect example is the original reality TV show, MTV's The Real World which debuted in 1992.  The next generation arrived with shows like The Hills and Laguna Beach.  It was later exposed that some of those shows were soft-scripted with producers texting lines to the cast as they had conversations on camera.  It was even exposed that many of the relationships were faked for the show.  The Housewives franchise, however, brought something different.  First, the cast was made up of women not girls.  Second, real things were happening on these shows.  We watched families grow as new babies were born and saw marriages disintegrate before our eyes.  We watched Bethenny Frankel go from no-name skinny chef to founder of the Skinnygirl empire.  We loved some and we loved to hate some, but it was great TV all the same.

Season 3, New York Housewives
Photo Courtesy of Chief Fashionista via flickr
Then something changed.  It began with Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel on Season 3 of The Real Housewives of New York City.  The wives of New York City made up the first spin-off of the Housewives franchise and, along with the original OC ladies, were trailblazers for each new city that came along.  In Season 3, Jill Zarin, a wealthy outspoken star of the show, learned her BFF, break-out star Bethenny Frankel (a struggling chef and the only non-wealthy person on the show), was getting her own show and moving on without her.  An infuriated Zarin tried to ice-out Frankel from the show.  From the moment the cameras went up, Zarin made it clear she was at war.  The other wives admitted that Zarin had sent them messages telling them to refuse filming with Frankel.  Zarin did not want to give Frankel a "platform" to further her success.  Ultimately, the plan backfired as Frankel went on to Skinnygirl fortune and Zarin was eventually fired from the show.  But something was hatched, nonetheless.

As reality TV has grown, so has the influence of production, editing crews and even the wives themselves.  Honestly, it's not as much about reality as it is about entertainment and producing a show.  I have always suspected that production forced the wives to hang out with each other and attend the same events.  I knew many of the lunch dates and parties were manufactured for the show.  They need the interactions after all.  Former New York Housewife, Alex McCord, has described the interference played by production on her show The Real Deal with Alex McCord.  But that was nothing.  Now each wife has her own producer, who are at every event along with the cameras.  Production shapes what topics are talked about, what topics get filmed, and even what time certain cast members arrive to events (they have been known to make certain cast members purposely late to create drama).  But it doesn't stop there. 

New York Housewife Bethenny Frankel;
Photo Courtesy of Boss Tweed via flickr
The cast is also now involved in shaping the "reality" that is caught on camera.  The icing-out technique, for example, is a favorite tactic of the wives.  As I explained earlier, Jill Zarin was the mastermind behind this technique which has caught on like wildfire.  The wives, especially the break-out stars and fan favorites, have realized they can dictate who is cast on the show.  They throw a fit with producers, refuse to film with certain cast members and encourage other cast members to do the same.  First, Zarin tried it with Frankel.  In a strange twist, on the latest season of New York, Frankel herself attempted to ice-out veterans Sonja Morgan and Countess Luann de Lesseps.  New Jersey's Teresa Guidice iced-out her own family members, Melissa Gorga, Kathy Wakile and Rosie Pierri.  Then Beverly Hills' Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards iced-out Brandi Glanville and attempted to ice-out Lisa Rinna.  Most recently, OC housewife, Heather Dubrow was shown in an un-aired scene storming out of a group dinner, demanding to talk to producers and refusing to film with newbie Kelly Dodd.  She made it very clear she wanted Kelly off the show.  The stars are attempting to control the show, right down to the casting.

In addition to that, the cast now fights to fill certain manufactured roles that are now embedded in the show.  If you watch enough, and sadly I do, you will see certain themes and code words pop up across all cities in the franchise.  For example, there are now roles that are manufactured on each show.  You will hear stars from several different cities refer to themselves as "Lucy and Ethel."  New York's Jill Zarin and Bethenny Frankel, New Jersey's Teresa Guidice and Jacqueline Laurita and Beverly Hills' Lisa Vanderpump and Kyle Richards have all referred to themselves in this way.  You will also hear the phrase "frick and frack."  Atlanta's Phaedra Parks and Porsha Williams and New York's Countess Luann de Lesseps and Sonja Morgan proudly take that moniker, just to mention a few.

In addition, code words are created for the cast by production.  The best example is the term "friend."  Because not all of the women enjoy hanging out with each other, it became confusing about how to refer to the other wives while on camera.  Obviously, the term "castmate" would take away from the reality of the show.  Therefore, you will notice that the wives from every city refer to each other as "friend," especially during the reunions.  The wives now speak to each other in code in order to stay in "reality" on camera.  Not only is it evident that the wives strategize off-season about what will be talked about on camera, and more importantly what will not, they also make pacts with each other creating "teams."  Many of the ladies have capitalized on this by selling "Team Jill" or "Team Bethenny" style t-shirts. 

Beverley Hills Housewives Vanderpump and Richards
Photo Courtesy of Greg Hernandez via flickr
The collusion between production and cast is going to be the eventual downfall of The Housewives franchise.  The reality TV veil was lifted for me during last season's reunion, Season 6, of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  Beverly Hills is home to the master manipulator herself, star Lisa Vanderpump, who also acts as executive producer on another BravoTV show, Vanderpump Rules.  Vanderpump has got this game down to a science.  I watched last season's reunion and suddenly saw, quite clearly, the manipulation tactics at work.  In fact, Lisa Rinna called Vanderpump out on some of them which explains the ice-out that subsequently occurred.  The worst example was Vanderpump's use of Kim Richards, who has a serious addiction problem, to make Lisa Rinna look bad and Kathryn Edwards (who Vanderpump wanted on the show) look good.  It ultimately did not work, as Edwards was axed from the show, but it nearly ruined my love affair with the housewives.  I can now see all of the tactics at work as the show airs and it certainly removes the mystique.

The lack of reality on reality TV has made the forum lack luster.  We loved watching the wives at events or raising their kids, forced to deal with those they do not like.  Now they simply get each other written off the show and destroy each others characters.  The Housewives franchise is a well-produced, well-oiled machine.  The manufactured culture of the show that has developed, however, will eventually be its downfall.  Production and cast interference most likely marks the beginning of the end of the level of success shows like the Housewives have seen.  Sure, they will stick around, but they will never be the same unless execs like Andy Cohen put an end to programming control by cast and production teams.  If not, reality TV such as the Housewives will simply become regular, old TV.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Would I Have Voted For Trump? My Journey Through the Media

As I entered my late teens and early 20's, my interest in politics and world events was strong, but my understanding of the world was sadly lacking.  Then 9/11 happened.  Shortly thereafter, I was at a friend's house talking about the recent terrorist attacks.  She said the moment the second plane hit the World Trade Center she knew it was Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban.  I was puzzled by two things in that conversation.  First, how was this uneducated former model aware of Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban prior to 9/11?  Second, and more importantly, how was I blissfully unaware of Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban?  Why was this not talked about on college campuses or in the media? My desire for knowledge and information only grew.

So, as an uninformed product of the California university system, I turned to the only reasonable source for news...MSNBC.  In the aftermath of 9/11, the media scrambled to report on the Taliban and attach to their reporting whatever agenda served them best.  I remember watching Ashleigh Banfield in the Middle East, amazed at this woman trudging through hostile areas of the Middle East.  Other than that, however, I was stuck listening to the progressive, anti-American commentators that flood MSNBC's airwaves.  I quickly realized that although I considered myself a liberal, I did not agree with most of what these liberals were saying on TV.  How could that be?  

In that time I discovered one show with a different point of view, a show hosted by Alan Keyes which I believe was called "Making Sense."   That show really opened my eyes.  Although I disagreed with Keyes many times, I connected with his conservative point of view.  It was at that point I realized there were other opinions being shared through the media, albeit few and far between, and I wanted to root them out.

I began watching CNN, C-SPAN and finally landed on Fox News.  When I discovered Fox News, I was thrilled.  Finally I had found reporting that was geared toward my conservative point of view.  I could not get enough.  A bit later Megyn Kelly (at that point Megyn Kendall) came along and I developed my "girl-crush" as I call it. Being a young, blonde, female attorney, I could not help but relate to her.  Not to mention the fact that she is a kick-ass journalist with an independent mindset and a beautiful face.  I was hooked.

Over the next seven years I lived in a house where Fox News was on 24/7.  My ex-husband had it on all day, every day.  I really did not mind it at first.  I was already hooked.  Not to mention is was great to finally hear a coherent counter argument to the liberal assaults that surround us here in California.  Then Glenn Beck arrived on the scene.  This is what I was looking for!  Question boldly...and so he did.  My devotion to Fox News and consumption of what it was serving me was at an all time high.   

Then something started to change, not to mention my marriage disintegrated.  I became annoyed listening to Fox News 24/7, although it does give one an interesting perspective.  I started to notice the same reporting on the same subjects hour after hour.  From show to show, with some exception in the prime time slots, it was the same stories and same information.  I was looking for something more and then I got it.  Glenn Beck announced his departure from Fox News and his new network TheBlaze was hatched.

Full disclosure: I am now a devoted watcher of the TheBlaze.  The difference is,  I have a new appreciation for cleaning one's own house.  We must first be willing to point out our own mistakes, and the mistakes of our own "team" before we rail against those we disagree with.  I am challenged to seek out the truth for myself.  I am no longer being spoon fed what to think. I have to remind myself, however, to seek out other sources of information.  It is easy to listen to that with which you agree.  Therefore, I force myself to turn on Rachel Maddow or Fox News and listen in.  It is a good practice, no matter how much it drives me crazy.  And I'll be honest, I can only take it in small doses. 

As Election 2016 kicked off, I knew I could not support either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.  I was honestly surprised at how so many on the right could support Trump considering his progressive record.  But then again, if you tuned into Fox News you might understand why.  While it was a given that CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and most all other media sources are in the bag for whomever the DNC appoints (Hillary Clinton in this case), I was ignorant not to believe the same with Fox News and the GOP.

As the 2016 Republican Primaries got underway, I could not believe what I was hearing from the "Fair and Balanced" network.  I knew they would be all over Hillary and her trail of corruption.  What was shocking was how they treated their fellow conservatives.  Anyone who supported someone other than Donald Trump, albeit Cruz, Rubio or Johnson, was now also deemed an enemy of the conservative movement.  My eyes were thrown wide open.  Apparently to Fox News, support of a constitutional conservative is not acceptable, even when the GOP nominates a New York progressive.  I began to judge others and I wondered how on Earth any conservative-minded person could so blindly support a terrible nominee.

But then I checked myself.  I began to think about my journey through the media. I used to be a disciple of Fox News and bought everything they were selling.  I started to wonder, if I were still watching nothing but Fox News all day, would I have voted for Trump instead of an independent candidate?  It worried me that I could see myself, someone who is no stranger to drafting well-crafted arguments, making excuses for the inappropriate behavior we have seen from our president-elect.  It's hard not to when everyone is playing teams instead of living principles.  Although I like to think that I would have seen through the desperate push for Trump, I remember a time where I may have been pushing just as hard.  It was a reminder not to be so critical of my fellow Americans.  After all, most of us are good people. 

If we are smart, we will use these times as a reminder of the importance of a free media.  Progressives in the media and academia love to attack America's founding principles and espouse that the Founders are out-of-date.   Our founders, in fact, actually understood the importance of a free press better than anyone (note the First Amendment).  Transparency and honest reporting are not only needed right now, but are necessary to a free republic.  I encourage the rest of you to hold all of the media's feet to the fire, not just the liberal media.  Check for yourself, do your own research, listen to other media sources and call out your own side.  If we only listen to the side we agree with and never check facts for ourselves, we become no better than today's university students consuming every word their Marxist professors say as truth. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Is Glenn Beck Really a Catastrophist?

Over the past few months Glenn Beck has not been shy about calling himself a "catastrophist."  He says he sees the worst of possibilities, especially when analyzing the economic future of America.  He has said it on his nationally syndicated talk show and TV show on the The Blaze network.  It made me wonder whether he was right.  In all honesty, my family members see Glenn on TV and ask if he sees anything other than doom and gloom.  Maybe he is a catastrophist.  Was I missing something? Are the warnings just catastrophist hype?

In an interesting juxtaposition to his catastrophist views, Glenn Beck is rather hopeful when it comes to the American people.  His message is one of peace, love and unity.  He believes that most of us are good and freedom of conscience for all is a basic principle.  But are his warnings about political and economic matters simply from the viewpoint of a catastrophist?  Although he thinks so, I beg to differ.

At times, it has seemed a bit dramatic when Glenn Beck warned us about ISIS and the Caliphate or an economic depression looming on the horizon.  But then again, although his timing may have been off, he is usually right on when it comes to substance.  And then it dawned on me.  Glenn is not so much a catastrophist as it is the combination of the progressive agenda and his awareness of it that make it seem as though he is. 

The progressive agenda is perfectly named--it is progressive.  Small steps are taken over time, moving forward toward an end goal.  The progressive agenda has been in the works in America for over a century.  Progressives have been chipping away at American principles like national sovereignty and individual rights that entire time.

Glenn's real issue is that he understands the end game of the progressive agenda; he understands why they take the small steps.  If you do not understand the end goal of the agenda at work, the small steps seem like no big deal.  Once the agenda is understood, however, the small steps become loud warning bells.  Couple that with the fact that this agenda has been in the works for over a century and we have ourselves a "catastrophist."  The end goal is much closer than we think.

When we are willing to take off our Obama beer goggles and sober up, we may realize the warnings are not so crazy after all.  As Glenn says himself, warnings are not predictions.  We should be wary of a concentration of power, no matter whether our "team" is in power or not.  If we all understand the end goal of the progressive agenda, we might all be thinking like Glenn Beck.  Glenn Beck is not a catastrophist because he sees the worst possibilities, he is a catastrophist because the end goal of the progressive agenda is catastrophic for liberty and freedom.

Article: The Blaze_Glenn Beck Apologizes for Being a Catastrophist

The Obama Legacy is Well Underway

The creation of the Obama legacy is well underway and he is not even out of office yet. As the Obama Administration winds down, the liberal media has made sure to let you know that Barack Obama has done an amazing job for America over the last 8 years. The media and academia ponder over such absurdities as how great it would be if we violated the Constitution and let him serve another term. It is everywhere. Even worse, many are towing the line on social media, going on about how great things are and how Obama has "fixed" everything. Spoiler alert: we are in very unstable times and in desperate need of some honest dialog.
Sticking with the theme of cleaning your own house first, we must take a hard look at the realities in which we all find ourselves today. As I see more and more of these headlines, I am shocked at how much support Obama garners despite the actual results of his policies. But then again, look at what is going on in both political parties...we are playing teams. The media is guilty, the parties are guilty, and most of us are guilty of blindly supporting our team and excusing any behavior. Stop.Playing.Teams.
Let's get real for just a few minutes and attempt to have an adult conversation. In order to assess what our next steps should be, we must be able to honestly assess where we are today. Progressivism is a problem in both of the major political parties. The policies of both the Democrats and Republicans have set the stage for Obama. And boy did Obama make use of that stage. While Obama did not start the progressive problem in America, he sure has advanced it.
Let's take off the Obama beer goggles and realize we have a lot of hard work ahead of us. We find ourselves with $20Trillion, yes that's Trillion, of national debt. In addition, the Fed has artificially held down interest rates while feverishly printing dollars. We are on the verge of a depression regardless of who got into the White House.
I often wondered why anyone would want to be president right now. If there is an economic collapse whoever is in office will take the blame, and let's just say that things are shaky at best. Of course, the media won't tell you this. They have to create the legacy of Obama and, therefore, cannot be bothered by the facts.
Usually this type of legacy building is much less obvious until years after a president leaves office. The media and academia allow the forgetfulness of time to set in, and then they work on rewriting history. They aren't even doing that anymore. I wonder, has the media and academia gotten so lazy they can't even be bothered with rewriting history anymore? Apparently, they now simply create the false narrative from the beginning.
I say this really as a plea to us all. We must start living in reality and not just the reality that the media and academia present to us. Times are unstable. We are financially unstable, the Middle East is unstable, Russia is unstable, race relations are unstable...I could go on and on. We must be willing to be as critical of those we are for as we are those who we are against.
The following list is a quick summary of the failed policies of the Obama Administration. Again, we must be willing to have an honest conversation that begins with an honest look of where we are at. Regardless of what party is leaving power, we must be willing to honestly assess our position.
(Although I could go on and on explaining the many effects of the policies of the Obama Administration, none have said it more succinctly than Glenn. The following quotes and summaries are taken from Glenn Beck's "Liars," see pp. 149-77 for references)
-Auto Bailout. As soon as he came into office, Obama used Bush's TARP program (another progressive tragedy), which was limited to financial institutions, to take over the auto industry. "Specifically, Obama ran roughshod over the bankruptcy code on behalf of the United Auto Workers union that had bankrupted Chrysler and General Motors in the first place, and did so while abrogating the property rights of creditors."
-Dodd-Frank. The disastrous Dodd-Frank legislation ensured no bank was "too big too fail." The big banks have only gotten bigger and we have ensured taxpayer bailouts will continue.

-Fast and Furious. Together with his Attorney General, Eric Holder, he and Obama ran two thousand guns to criminals across our border with Mexico. These guns killed hundreds of Mexicans and U.S. Border Agent Bryan Terry. The lies and cover-up continue to this day.
-IRS Scandal. Federal agencies have been weaponized against political rivals. "Obama also took a page from the FDR playbook by using the IRS to chill political dissent." Not only Obama's IRS, but the EPA, DOJ, ATF and a host of other powerful federal agencies were unleashed on conservative groups and individuals. We should all be afraid of a president exhibiting tyranny.
-Amnesty. The disaster at the border is clear for those of us on the West Coast. Between Obama's unconstitutional executive amnesty and the floods of Mexicans, South Americans and Middle Easterners running across our border undocumented, we are in trouble.
-Radical Islam. Obama refuses to link radical Islam to jihadists and has purged any language of it from federal documents. Not only is this the type of denial and nonsense that got Trump elected, it is dangerous.
-Middle East. Obama, along with Secretary Clinton, have helped destabilize the Middle East, with ISIS terrorists filling in the vacuums left behind. In Egypt, Obama removed President Mubarak, a strategic Israeli and U.S. ally. What he forgot to mention was that the radical Muslim Brotherhood was the only other force, which gladly filled the vacuum. In Libya, Obama removed Qaddafi, and supported the "rebels" who took over, which eventually became ISIS. Currently, ISIS and radical Islamists are spreading through the Middle East like wildfire. Awesome.
-The Iran Deal. I have never seen anything like this. Against U.S. law, we sent $450Million of cash to Iran, in the dead of night, in an unmarked cargo plane...and then gave the largest state sponsor of terror access to $1.7Billion dollars. Syria anyone?
-Benghazi. This was a moment that changed American policy forever. We leave no man behind, or at least we used to. Obama and Sec. Clinton were running guns to the "rebels" in Syria who became ISIS. They were doing this through Libya. On the night of September 11, 2012, Obama went to bed at 5:00 and Sec. Clinton refused contact as our military and CIA men were fighting for lives at our embassy in Benghazi. They begged for help, but their screams fell on deaf ears. Four service men, including Ambassador Stevens, were killed that night. Obama and Clinton turned their back on our military men because they did not want to expose their gun running scandal. They then blamed it on a video. It was an unprecedented and tragic moment in history.

-Israel. "Under Clinton's leadership at the State Department, it was revealed that the Obama Administration went so far as to seek to literally undermine Israel's governmental position by strengthening the Palestinian Arabs."
-Obamacare. One-sixth of the U.S. economy was taken over by the federal government with the passage of Obamacare. Never mind the fact that it was shoved through Congress on Christmas Eve, or that it was vigorously argued that it was not a tax to get it passed, then argued it was a tax as the only way to get it past the U.S. Supreme Court. The really shocking thing is what Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber got caught saying. Obamacare was designed to fail in order for single-payer, universal socialized medicine to take over. It was progressive-a step towards the end-goal. As we speak, Obamacare is failing, premiums are up in some places 70% and insurance companies are bowing out.
-Russia. Well, it appears Mitt Romney was right. Russia is our greatest Geo-political foe. Between their intervention in our elections, hacking our government communications and Wikileaks releases we sure have played a weak hand. Not to mention the fact that Vladimir Putin walked right into the Crimea and the Ukraine and took over. Obama sat back and watched.
China. China continues to "saber-rattle" in the South China Sea, expanding its control and expanding with man-made islands. Do we even have time to mention its cyber attack on the U.S. and currency manipulation?

Cuba. Obama overturned decades of U.S. policy against the Communist regime of the Castro brothers and "culminated in Obama and Raul Castro sharing a hot dog at a Cuban baseball game." Nothing like strengthening an anti-American, Communist regime less than 100 miles from Florida.
TPP. The Trans Pacific Partnership is the most egregious power grab in American history. This agreement makes an international government superior to the U.S. Constitution and laws there under. Say goodbye to sovereignty.
Let us summarize a few other policies instituted over the last eight years. The following is directly from "Liars" pp. 170-71:
"Just like FDR, Obama purported to help struggling Americans with these policies, but what the primarily accomplished was growing government and executive power. Consider some of the other progressive wins Obama has racked up:

-Using recess appointment power when the Senate was not in recess--thwarting constitutional checks and balances.
-Seeking to force public schools to use racial quotas to determine how and when to punish students for misbehaving--thwarting the federalist structure in an attempt to socially engineer based on progressive notions of 'fairness' and 'justice.'
-Forcing universities nationwide to strip protections from college students accused of sexual misconduct--violating due process rights.
-Ignoring the law requiring the president to give thirty days' notice to Congress before releasing jihadists from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba--thwarting the system of checks and balances.
-Attempting to impose an unconstitutional nationwide speech code on college campuses--thwarting the First Amendment.
-Arguing several property rights cases rejected unanimously by the Supreme Court, under which Obama's Environmental Protection Agency showed sever contempt for such rights through coercion--thwarting constitutionally protected private property rights."
This is where we are folks. Until we are willing to admit the mistakes of those on our own side, we can never truly introduce solutions. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Obama did not "fix" everything. In fact, in many ways America is weaker than ever. Some would say, by design. That's the reality of Obama's legacy.

Let's Clean House!

I recently praised Bill Maher for his comments regarding the fact that we need to be just as critical of who we vote for as who we are against. He was on the right path, however, after his recent comments, it became clear he has the wrong solution. He claimed that Democrats have been too nice and need to get mean in order to appeal to the voters. He could not be more wrong.
As for being too nice, if that is what Democrats honestly think, we cannot have an honest conversation. Nice is not the adjective I would choose to describe either agenda of the two major political parties. Anyhow...
What would really sweep the American people is truth, humility and, most of all, common sense. Sure Donald Trump is mean, rude and inappropriate to say the least. But that isn't why most people voted for him. You see, it isn't mean to say that illegal immigrants must be deported according to federal law. It isn't mean to say that we should be worried about radical Islamists. It isn't mean to point out countries that manipulate currency. The pendulum has swung so far into the politically correct world, that Americans are craving some common sense. That is why they voted for Trump, not because he was mean.
I do fear, however, that in our complete rejection of the progressive agenda that has been shoved down our throats for over a century, we will fall victim to history and willingly elect a tyrant. I have yet to hear Trump actively promote the restoration of America's principles of limited government and States rights, or even spending cuts for that matter. But again, Trump has a chance to prove us all wrong and we will finally have something to judge him on--what he does as president. I will stand with him so long as he stands for the Constitution, but I will also hold him accountable if he sways from it. Let's hope we are willing to do the hard work. Nobody likes house cleaning, but at times it is necessary.

The Attack on the Electoral College and the Ignorance of American Civics

If you have ever sat for a university course on American history or been exposed to mainstream media, you have been exposed to the progressive agenda. A favorite talking point of progressives is that American principles are outdated, old, archaic...they are in need of updating. Despite the fact that our founding documents declare that there are universal rights untouchable by government, progressives continue to push the narrative that our founding documents and principles are "living" and government should change them over time. The Founders could never have foreseen things like the internet, duh.
Whenever we have a presidential election where a candidate wins the popular vote but does not win the Electoral College, progressives come out in force. Never mind the fact that the popular vote is irrelevant in American politics. Because we no longer teach history and agendas have become more important than facts, most Americans do not even know that America is not a direct democracy. America is a constitutional republic. You see, our Founders studied thousands of years of human history to attempt to understand why governments worked and why they failed, not to mention the fact that they themselves had lived under true tyranny. Our founding principles were not arrived at capriciously.
When the Founders were attempting to unite the thirteen different colonies, they realized a direct democracy would never work. Small states, with sparse populations were never going to sign onto a constitution where large, heavily populated states would automatically control federal elections due to the majority with the popular vote. Each state wanted the freedom to operate as it sees fit. Enter the Electoral College. Our founding principles respect the fact that each state is not only different from others, but it has the right to be.The will of the majority would not automatically override the voice of the minority.
Although states with larger populations receive a larger amount of Electoral College votes than states with small populations, we do not elect our president based on the popular vote. If progressives took the time to think about what would happen if they lost the majority, they might rethink their agenda.
Understanding the nuances of our founding principles takes intelligence and the willingness to look past the progressive agenda. It may be wise to first understand American principles before attacking them. For it is never outdated to state that people have the right to be free, to live their lives they way they see fit...That government's only role is to protect the rights of the people. It will always ring true to state that our rights do not come from government, but are bestowed upon every person by the very virtue of their humanity.
Side Note:
Interestingly enough, progressives in California are pushing the #CalExit agenda to secede from the Union. Most of its supporters argue that California does not want the federal government holding it back from pursuing its progressive agendas. They are making the case for the Constitution and States Rights, they just don't know it.