Saturday, December 11, 2010

Sales Tax on Home Sales, More Government Sleight of Hand

A few days ago, I had a good friend of mine tell me that Congress had passed a new sales tax on home sales or purchases. I didn't think that statement was true simply because a new tax like that would have caught my attention. Could I have missed some bill? Last night I googled "sales tax on home sales" and this is what I found.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/realestate.asp

http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2010/09/19/a-sales-tax-when-you-sell-your-home/

http://www.factcheck.org/2010/04/a-38-percent-sales-tax-on-your-home/

I clipped this piece from the second link.

The truth is that only a tiny percentage of home sellers will pay the tax. First of all, only those with incomes over $200,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly) will be subject to it. And even for those who have such high incomes, the tax still won’t apply to the first $250,000 on profits from the sale of a personal residence — or to the first $500,000 in the case of a married couple selling their home.
We can understand how this misconception got started. The law itself is couched in highly technical language that only a qualified tax expert can fully grasp. (This provision begins on page 33 of the reconciliation bill that was passed and signed into law.) And it does say the tax falls on "net gain … attributable to the disposition of property." That would include the sale of a home. But the bill also says the tax falls only on that portion of any gain that is "taken into account in computing taxable income" under the existing tax code. And the fact is, the first $250,000 in profit on the sale of a primary residence (or $500,000 in the case of a married couple) is excluded from taxable income already. (That exclusion doesn’t apply to vacation homes or rental properties.)

Government is sneaky. Not only do they hide this crap in a bill that has nothing to do with real estate, but then the idiots that pass this nonsense- claim no responsibility because they hadn't read the bill. That would be bad enough. But the real intent will play out many years from now.

A few months ago, I discussed the concept of a "beach head." These are the incremental steps that government uses over time. They use this method because it is sneaky, they can avoid responsibility, and they can allow future legislators to expand the program.

This is how they do it. They pass legislation that they hope people will not discover. Perhaps as a rider in a bill or concealed in some juggernaut such as the health care bill. When it is discovered, we find that it targets wealthy people. Since the vast majority of us are not wealthy, we breath a sigh of relief. Some of us might even say, "screw the wealthy." We can't deny the existence of class warfare nor the politicians who exploit that. So the legislation stands, supported by the majority of us that it doesn't effect. Years from now, government will raise that tax. Or they will ratchet down the income levels of those that it applies to. The wealthy who have already been subject to the tax, won't shed a tear for the lower income levels as the net widens and captures others. They will say it is fair.

This is how government establishes a "beach head." A safe landing spot that establishes a whole new tax or position. They are like termites. Let them in the house, let them get away with this, and the termites will eat your house. Then we will scratch our heads and say, "how did this happen?" The original legislators will be long gone, collecting government pensions. The new legislators, those that increase the sales tax net on smaller incomes, will shrug their shoulders and blame the old guys- those guys that passed Obamacare. They will say that they were just trying to make it fair for everybody. People might say, "That makes sense, it seems fair." Then the government will start raising the tax. Incrementally of course. Probably start with the wealthy and work their way down again. Once they have established the "beach head", it becomes easier to tack on increases. That is the history of all government programs. That is the history of federal taxes and state taxes, social security, medicaid.

Divide and conquer. Attack the weakest link first, establish and justify the position, pillage the next link. Can you imagine the outrage if government attempted to do this to everyone at once? That is precisely why they didn't and they don't. Honest acts do not fear disclosure.

Don't ever think for a second that government is acting in your best interests. They do not. They act contrary to your interests. Nothing illustrates that better than Obamacare. I'd like to think we run the government but clearly we do not. If you still cling to the idea that government acts in our best interests, I will point you to the overwhelming majority of Americans that opposed this bill. The evidence is in. Pay attention to what government actually does, not to anything they say.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Nobel Committee Restores Credibility, Scandis' Get Off the Sauce

After President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for doing essentially nothing, I had contemplated relegating the whole Nobel Peace Prize propaganda process through my hippocampus into the garbage disposal part of my brain. However, having been a willing refugee of Idaho's Moonbat Valley, I quickly realized the dangers of this. I could easily envision myself surrounded by a bunch of wine induced dip shits waving diplomas from expensive colleges and claiming that Obama's likeness should be carved into the Black Hills. Thus, you may never know when seemingly worthless information becomes valuable once again.

That and I reasoned, if a bunch of sheep could fall for such nonsense, perhaps the disease was simply contagious and the scandis' had caught the same virus that we had. I cut them some slack. Maybe they would recover. So when Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize this year, I thought I'd find out who he was and if he had accomplished anything worthy of the prize. Judged against President's Obama accomplishments, Liu Xiaobo would not be faced with an impossible task.

I am glad that I did. I read four or five articles that I think caught the essence of who Liu Xiaobo is. Let me say this. I am overwhelmed once again at a number of things. Things we take for granted like freedom of speech. The willingness of fearful governments to persecute anyone that threatens their grasp on the reins of power. The oppressive will of China. The personal courage of a man who speaks, knowing full well that his words will cost him his freedom. Perhaps his life. That takes guts.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8192786/Nobel-Peace-Prize-the-life-and-work-of-Liu-Xiaobo.html

I hear a lot of folks that believe wikipedia is inaccurate and that it sucks. I'm not one of them. I still use wiki a lot- particularly for historical and biographical data. Surprised the Chinese faithful have not hacked the entry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Xiaobo

Liu Xiaobo sounds like a dangerous man indeed. Those Chinese citizens should sleep a little better knowing maniacs like him are locked up. Did you read the story of the chinese guy that makes his living plucking murdered people out of the river and selling the corpses to grieving families? http://dailyposted.com/world/chinese-fisherman-on-yellow-river-reels-in-corpses-mcclatchy-newspapers-7753.html

Thankfully the Chinese government has better things to do than pluck bodies out of rivers and solve homicide cases. Instead, they lock up peaceful writers that question their activities and their priorities. We may have Frankenstein Government here, but those folks got Godzilla Government. I am thankful once again.

I think I'll give the scandis' another chance. They may have been hitting the vino a little too hard a year ago. They've done a lot to restore their credibility with me above the din and ridicule of a Chinese government that thinks free speech is a criminal act worthy of a long stretch in prison. Kind of odd isn't it? A couple of people who talk. One goes to the White House for four years, another goes to some Chinese gulag for eleven years. What separates these two? That ever so rare and precious gift, the gift you can only give yourself- when you decide what kind of man you want to be. The gift of personal courage.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Celebrating The New Underground Economy

The last three years have been an economic tragedy. Depending on who you believe, we have structurally lost 10-30 million jobs in the U.S.- permanently. Those jobs were lost to cheap labor markets all over the world. That sucking sound that Ross Perot, business and political prophet, warned us about a little over two decades ago.

That leaves us with 30 million people not paying their mortgages, not buying health insurance, not paying federal and state taxes, not paying property taxes. Federal, state, and local governments have been slow to catch on. In fact, they want to maintain their status quo employment levels. Some still want to give themselves "raises." It is as though absolutely nothing concerns government. They are completely self absorbed. They don't give a shit about you- as long as they have theirs. This self absorbed attitude is mind numbing and to deny it's existence- would simply be grossly inaccurate. So government just continues pillaging tax payers.

Governments are raising mill levy rates to recapture lost tax revenue on lower appraisals of existing property. They are passing health care bills trying to recapture healthy and unemployed people no longer capable or willing of subsidizing pooled health care costs. They are raising public pension contribution rates for underfunded plans. They are doubling unemployment insurance costs to businesses, large and small. Government mandated worker's compensation insurance costs are rising. So whether government is directly stealing your money or indirectly stealing your money through insurance programs or other benefits that they have mandated- makes little difference. Government cannot stop nor is it willing to rein in it's gluttony. In the most bankrupt corners of our country, government is finally starting to nibble away at itself. Far too little, far too late.

Welcome to the new US underground economy. A far more efficient economy that evades taxes and government socialism. The economy that says, "We have to find a way to live." If that means food, clothing, health care, and shelter for our families, that's what matters. The underground economy that tells government we are eliminating your claim on our work product. You are like fat and bloated unwelcome guests, guests that have long out stayed your welcome here. It's time to move along.

On the ground here in the real world, people are just trying to survive. They have lost jobs, slashed debt, and yet they still can't avoid the self absorbed gluttony and the shameless excesses of those that think they master us. Government giveaway programs that never stop. The useless and wasteful wars that we no longer pay attention to.

The underground economy is about people helping people. It's about roofers doing cash jobs for people. It's negotiating a cash purchase for a tooth repair or a crown, perhaps a couple hundred bucks cash because we can no longer afford dental insurance. Of course we know that the dentist will not report the income. Some of us leave our borders and obtain health care at a reasonable price, perhaps an elective surgery. It's about swapping labor. It's about running a mom and pop business and dodging workman's comp laws. It's trading a pile of firewood for a paint job on your house. It's about charity and service work for the millions of homeless and hungry that you habitually ignore. The government caters to the rich and elite types, the homeless block their restaurant egress.

I know at least twenty people dodging taxes and working for cash. I know people who dodge taxes habitually. These are not criminals. These are people just trying to survive. These folks are faced with real world choices and decisions. In a world of individuals forced to cut all of the fat from their budgets, government just becomes another layer of fat. The people who cut government out of their lives, some even expatriating, are not criminals. They simply cannot continue to give half of their wealth away, year after year, and survive. They cannot save for retirement. That does not make them criminals. It makes them guilty of trying to live and a have a productive life and a government telling them what they can have and what they cannot have. Coercing them and prosecuting them if they do not pay. That's how the mafia works. That is not freedom, that is extortion.

I'm not talking about the corporate elite and the wealthy who "legally" dodge taxes. They have no excuse and they make most of us sick. I'm talking about real life, average Americans trying to string together enough money to to pay their bills. People who pay minimal costs and are left with virtually nothing left over as opposed to some clown like Wesley Snipes who refuses to pay 2 million in taxes and still has 10 or 20 million left over. Enjoy your three year vacation Wes.

Our government has gone berserk when GE can make 637 billion dollars and pay 5 billion, (less than 3.5%) in taxes and threatens to lock the rest of us up because we can't pay our full 35%. That shit is fair and legal?? http://www.zerohedge.com/article/how-ge-paid-total-5-billion-domestic-taxes-betwen-2002-and-2009-639-billion-domestic-revenue

People would pay a fair price in taxes. A fair price left our country long ago.

I celebrate the new underground economy. People helping people again. Re-introducing themselves to each other. People no longer stealing wealth via some some anonymous third party insurer just because they can. People charging a fair price for a fair service, while looking their customers in the eyes- a little less gouging and and a little less greed. A little more compassion and a little more kindness. People finally recognizing who the bully is. A lot of things to like. Maybe we need a whole new economy and perhaps one day, we will thank our thugocracy for delivering one.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Have a Promising Future Behind Me

I will turn 50 this week. So what I thought I'd do today, is take a breather from all of that crooked government bullshit that I usually write about. Tell you about some of the observations I have made during the last 5 decades. How it was for me.

When I was 10, I was a very happy kid. Playing baseball, beating up on kids, fishing, honing juvenile delinquency skills. I started using tobacco around 11. Got my first hickey about that time. My parents were happy to see that. Nasty girl, about 17, did that the first time I met her. I liked her right away. I have always loved older women. Strange how that works. We shined shoes in the bars in Butte, Mt. Made a lot of money courtesy of drunken miners. I saw my first stabbing turned homicide in a place called the Helsinki Club. From these humble beginnings, I would become a cop. Like I said, strange how those things work.

When I was 20, I still hadn't learned much. Drinking beer, working full time, going to college. Mostly drinking beer. Those were pretty good years. I learned to skydive, had my first love. I don't think I had a rational adult type thought until I was 25. I spent years in the gym lifting weights that decade. I would pay for that shit later on. Your misdeeds do haunt you. Trust me on this. Nobody gets away.

When I turned 30, I thought I knew everything. I was sure of it. I got married, took a hostage. My body started breaking down, sporadically. Just started to hurt and ache all over. I seemed to have a blood clotting disorder. I gained weight. I drank more. Smoked off and on. Job stress began to rise but I always loved what I did. Life kind of peaked about mid decade. From age 35, the fun times just seemed to get less frequent. My life took a turn for the worse. I'm not sure why that was and if I did know- I'm not sure that it would matter. The important thing, the thing I am most grateful for now, is that it did get significantly worse. That's what happens when you start looking back and connecting the dots. I have learned to appreciate the bad times in my life.

At 40, I began to have occasional thoughts that maybe I didn't know so much after all. Some fool (actually a very decent man) made me the Chief of Police. Let me explain what kind of a guy I was. I was a hammer and every problem looked like a nail. That's how I dealt with life. I didn't have much luck with the bolts and the screws of the world. I just didn't have the political skill set for being a Chief of Police. Small town Police Chiefs are at the mercy of any maniac seeking to become a Mayor. Long tenured Chiefs of Police have one remarkable talent that I was never able to cultivate. I knew what is was and I saw it first hand at various Chief meetings all over the state. It wasn't like I was so stupid that I couldn't figure it out. It was absolutely essential to longevity. Police Chiefs are professional ass kissers. Show me a guy that's been a Chief of Police for a long time and I'll show you a guy that desperately subverts his thoughts or agenda for anything the bosses want. Political hacks love power and yes men. They don't want any flak from subordinates. Politicians aren't any smarter than the average Joe. Most just crave power, respect. They expect loyalty. Police Chiefs that desperately want to stay Police Chiefs- know this. The ass kissers of the world make a choice. The hammers make a choice. We all decide what kind of men we are going to be and we live with our decisions. That's what I have learned. The politicians didn't make my choices, I did. Towards the end, I began having health issues, drank too much, and couldn't fit into a size 38 anymore. Somewhere, just short of 47, I was able to retire. Sometimes your expectations get in the way of your life, don't be afraid to murder them when they do.

I have a promising future behind me. Thank God.

I am going to turn 50 tomorrow. I don't smoke anymore. I don't drink anymore. The 17 year old girls now call me grandpa. I now realize that I don't know most shit and I am ok with that. I wear a loose fitting waist size- 36 again. I exercise and meditate. I come and go as I please. I don't answer to anyone, I don't have to kiss any ass unless I want to. I can utter an opinion and I don't give a fuck who doesn't agree. I pierced both ears and I am thinking about getting a tattoo. My motorcycle is therapeutic. My right foot is a little numb, veins in my legs stick out, and I pay attention when Cialis commercials come on CNBC. All of the joints and ligaments that I abused in those weight rooms, oh so long ago, are now exacting their revenge. I manage those aches, in fact I am proud of them. I can still hit a drive 330 yards once in awhile and I cracked 22 out of 25 clay pidgeons just the other day. Not bad for a guy who's only shot trap 4 times.

I've been able to connect the dots that are my life. As I look back I can see the achievements and the mistakes. I am alright with that. I am comfortable in my own skin. I focus on simple things like watching the squirrels haul ass up and down my tree and I've taught them to eat out of my hand. I see the neighbors cats lurking about and I throw rocks and shit at them when their owners aren't out watching. I am just an old sheep dog at heart. I try to give folks far more than I take. I owe the world that. I am grateful for my life- the things I did right and the things I did wrong. I wouldn't take any of it back because if I did- I wouldn't have learned what I've learned. I am comfortable with growing old and I have accepted my own death. I am no better at kissing death's ass than I was my last bosses'. I am as happy as I was at 10, sans a hickey here or there. Tomorrow night, I am going to eat a big steak with my mother, my lifelong best friend and his dad. Maybe even one of those big ass onions with the blood clogging sauce. I'm gonna savor every bite and contemplate just what the hell I'm going to do for the next 50 years. Or 5. That's how it is for me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Obama on TV...Angry and Pissy, Media Calls It "Passion", Gridlock Officially Arrives!

Watching Obama on the "buy the fucking dip" channel. My ex used to call it the stock channel.

Barack making excuses and claiming that he has the moral high ground. He was forced to capitulate and extend the Bush tax cuts because of those damn Republicans. Unemployment benefits will also get extended another 13 months. Just a little hostility leaking out. Obama takes this shit personally.

So let me see. Less money in via tax cuts, more money out via unemployment. One hundred and fifty weeks on unemployment now available. Collecting unemployment may soon become a specialized career. In fact, I don't even think we should count the unemployed as unemployed. They have jobs collecting checks. Not unlike full time government workers.

Obama wrapping up with semi-angry tirade. Now he is saying that he has fulfilled every campaign promise he made. Finishes. John Harwood on CNBC referring to Obama's  demeanor as "passion." I say Obama is just plain pissy. Like a spoiled brat. I say that with a minimum of passion.

Obama, the government, and the media. They never let me down.

Social Security Now Officially Broke, Eight Years Ahead of Schedule

Just a couple of years ago, I remember the "experts" telling us that social security was still running a surplus and that it wouldn't turn red until 2018.

Apparently the "experts" didn't price in the great recession. http://www.zerohedge.com/article/social-security-2010-results-%E2%80%93-long-slide-red

In Mr Krasting's simple analysis, I agree that the cash position is all that matters. Everything else is just fuzzy math. The 1946 born "baby boomers" started taking early benefits in 2008. The timing was near perfect. Baby boomers were forced to cash in as our country shed millions of jobs. Thus the social security "fund" started leaking oil. Losses went parabolic.

How do you feel about "experts?" Every once in awhile, while searching for supportive links to embed, I come across something so utterly stupid and unconscious that I simply must use it. This author, while hardly an expert- is certainly a piece of work. This guy and others like him, are precisely why we have this mess to begin with. He just garnishes the meal with Bush hatred. http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/553

The problem with writers like this are two fold. Their opinions are colored with venom- therefore they assume someone they dislike has absolutely no credibility. The other problem is that their mistakes get archived on the intertubes- so guys like me can laugh at them. Math genius. This dude is a hard core statist.

Thank Gawd for Gridlock

In the mountains of Idaho, in a place called Wildhorse Campground, this embedded tune was played something like 50 times. I don't think that is an exaggeration. There was plenty of whiskey that weekend. Campfires, guns, and fishing poles. Things to like. Not a bad place to throw a retirement party. No more small town politics, no more meetings, no more law enforcement. 



Legislative bodies love to pass laws. They really enjoy passing laws when they think the constituents are watching and supportive. When they get a little over zealous with all that law passing- thankfully we have a remedy called "gridlock." As a Libertarian, I have DNA that demands that any law passed better be proven useful and that government had better not trample my rights or my freedom. I expect results if you are going to pick my pockets. By my internal controls, seat belt laws barely get the nod.

I don't mind that the insurance lobby got away with that piece of seat belt trickery. That is called risk management. The truth is...is that seat belts do save lives. Particularly in rollovers. Insurance companies save billions in health claims and litigation costs. Greater operating profits. So maybe there is such a thing as a "win-win." Money, like virtually everything else, was the real driving force behind seat belt laws. I'm ok with that, well kind of...  

Years ago, I was attending a statewide conference on seat belt enforcement. Just after Idaho passed their first seat belt law. There were cops from all over the state, lawyers, judges, state officials. Lectures. A lot of propaganda and tail wagging. During one particular lecture, I listened to one of those bouncy, vibrant gals, extolling the virtues of the law and why we should enforce it. It was the first lecture of the morning and odds were, I was nursing a hangover. Those vibrant types tend to irritate the shit out of me. Particularly if they sound like crusaders. This gal possessed that recipe,"click it or ticket" she would say. We might never have crossed paths had she not droned on for about five minutes on how the seat belt law would lower insurance costs. How we would all save money. Blah...blah...blah. It was that segment of her lecture that got my attention and doomed her to a "chance" meeting with me during the break. She was about to meet a libertarian with a badge and a hangover.

I sprung the ambush just outside the ladies restroom in the hallway. I introduced myself and after exchanging the obligatory "nice job" pleasantries, I asked her just how much money I could expect to save on my auto insurance premiums as a result of this new law. She was kind of speechless. I then told her that interior safety designs of automobiles began in earnest in 1969. I said that during my lifetime, vehicle related deaths and injuries had been cut nearly in half with the advent of safer and stronger auto design, strict and rigid DUI enforcement, engineering improvements, airbags, and yet not once had my insurance premiums declined or held steady. In fact I said, they had always risen. But that was not my point. I explained that I am a cop. My job is to enforce the law and gain compliance. I told her that I didn't give a damn whether the insurance companies improved their margins and made more money. I don't work for insurance companies. I told her to be sure and call me though, just in case those generous insurance companies were going to cut us a check and pass those savings on to us in time for Christmas. She didn't invite me to lunch that day.

I can't stand Geico and those stupid gekko commercials. Or those Progressive commercials with that silly broad dressed in white asking stupid questions and yelling, "discount!" Geezus, who dreams that shit up? I feel good knowing that all those lives we've saved have enabled insurance companies to bombard us with that cutting edge television.

A pretty good case can be made that seat belts save lives and reduce injury. I can live with that while I wait for my insurance savings check in the mail. But what I can't live with- are legislators stealing our freedom in some willy nilly fashion which this current crew likes to do. Government running our lives and telling us how to live while they are reaching into our pockets. Every time government passes a law, we lose freedom. We lose money. I can't wait for a little gridlock.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bernank Finally Utters Something Vaguely Truthful, BUY SILVER!

The Bernank has now admitted what everyone without a job knows. We are turning Japanese. His comments were still shaded optimistically. Just wait for 5 years or so. In the meantime, please go out and buy a bunch of Chinese shit at WalMart. Charge it.

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, in an interview on CBS' "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday, said it could be four or five years before the economy is back to a normal unemployment rate. He also said fears of inflation are overstated, and that the central bank could resort to another round of stimulus by buying up Treasuries.

Silver now cracking 30 bucks an oz. Buy silver with your mortgage payment. Steal your kids money. Jaime Dimon playing this song on his Ipod.



Last week, I bought a ten ounce bar of silver. This week I am going to buy another. If screwing over a TBTF bank is not enough incentive, what is? I could care less if silver crashes through the floor...or whether Max Keiser is right or not. Just the possibility of sticking it to JP Morgan makes me giddy. Very funny stuff...fucking ZeroHedge. See this parody before the Downfall studio nabs it and takes it away.

Connecting the Dots

Steve Jobs probably said it best. You can only connect the dots as you look backward. That as we reflect back upon our lives, we begin to see things clearly. The dots aren't visible to us as young people. The dots, or the decisions that we will make, are waiting for us. So it stands to reason that an individual's future can actually be kind of hazy, yet our past has the potential to be crystal clear.

I understand that now, in as much as I know quite a few young people that think they have life all sorted out. I don't waste much time trying to influence them. It annoys them and who am I to deny them some pain? Go ahead young man and piss on that electric fence. It is your right. Perhaps you are not bound to the same laws of physics that I must adhere to. Who am I to quench your thirst for knowledge?

Now I've seen and met quite a few talented and remarkable people in my lifetime. Movie stars, musicians, billionaires, hall of fame athletes. Religious leaders and politicians. Mutual fund managers, lawyers, car salesmen, miners, and farmers. Very intelligent cops and prison inmates. I have found many of these people to be quite interesting. Ted Bundy was incredibly intelligent and fascinating. Unfortunately, being a sociopath and a serial murderer were not really qualities I was searching for. I do not feel pangs of jealousy when it comes to the rich and famous. I do not oogle them or secretly wish I had their lives. Nor do I covet mansions, jets, trophy women, or hall of fame speeches made by men that batted .343 in the Major Leagues. I look for something a little different than all of those things.

There are many human qualities that I admire. Selflessness, compassion, tolerance, understanding. Patience, kindness, honesty, truthfulness, tact. These are some of the things I seek to possess and I constantly search for them. I know a few people who have many fine qualities. Yet there remains one quality that I hold in the highest esteem, a quality that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Obama doesn't have it, Warren Buffett can't quite find it, and most people don't even stop to consider it. The quality I hold in the highest regard is personal courage. The ability to stand true and correct in the face of overwhelming odds and pressure. Those people that refuse to bend. Those folks that know in advance, that they are about to take a terribly unpopular stand and to do it anyway. Because it is the right thing to do. That is personal courage.

Personal courage is selfless. People that employ personal courage have mastered their own fear. They set aside their wants for the needs of the many. When you see personal courage in action, it can be breathtaking. It might even astound you when it happens because you simply can't identify a selfish motive. People that display personal courage do so at great risk. They can be ridiculed and isolated. Made to feel like outsiders and shunned. Don't ever make the mistake of labeling personal courage as stupidity. It's not. It's well though out and planned. The risks are weighed. Some of those that come to mind are Peter Schiff, William Black, Ron Paul, Craig T. Nelson. Perhaps even, Julian Assange. What makes them different? Often, they are the FIRST to take a stand.

According to the German philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." Has Julian Assange suffered through ridicule and opposition? Does that make the truth any less evident?

Rahm Emmanuel had it right when talking about never letting a crisis go to waste. What Rahm cannot conceive, the part that he missed, is that a crisis can be a great opportunity for personal growth. A crisis isn't simply an opportunity to expand government. That's the superficial view. When a crisis meets great personal courage, a greater opportunity exists. An opportunity to tell the status quo, we are going to do the unthinkable. We are going to restore the leadership role of this country in the eyes of the world. We are going to do one right thing and perhaps more will follow. One selfless act of personal courage for the needs of the many- in spite of the wants of the few. Obama had that opportunity and had he seized it- our country might have re-established itself as an example for the world. There would be hope. You see, I don't think Obama is a sinister man. I think he simply has not connected his dots.

Congress may be the greatest collection of cowards ever assembled. Faced with no brainers such as term limits, campaign reform, tax reform, or even the audit the fed bill, they are frozen with fear. They can't even comprehend selfless acts of public service. They simply can't fathom the idea that productive public service may mean political death. That doing the right thing for the public at the potential cost of losing your job takes great personal courage. It's been so long since these folks had a civics lesson that they simply can't remember what that was. It may eventually take an act of complete anarchy, treason in their eyes, to force this crew to do the right thing. Other than Ron Paul, I don't think there is one ounce of personal courage in either chamber. I'd like to finish with a great story of personal courage that I had the privilege of witnessing a few years ago. The story I am about to tell is true.

Several years ago, the city I worked for hired a new city administrator. Almost immediately, I could tell this man had personal courage. I talked with him many times. He had an unflinching moral compass. It worked like this. Every action was well thought out and it had be the right thing to do. It had to be ethically, morally, and legally correct. He would then ask, "can I find a win-win for everyone?" Like a page out of one of Stephen Covey's books. One of his first acts on the job was to try and install a city wide drug testing policy. He said it would reduce insurance premiums, establish professionalism and credibility, and address some employee performance issues he had been made aware of. He came to me and asked how it would be received. I told him, based on my experience, it would not stand a chance. He found that hard to believe but did the usual "feeling out" and presenting, and watched that idea die an undignified death behind closed doors away from the public's eye- of course. He had done his best.

A few weeks later, he was asked to remove all of the yellow ribbons that had been tied on trees lining our Main St. by the families of soldiers deployed to Iraq. The ribbons had a depiction of a little wooden cross on them. His boss, some form of agnostic that saw this as a violation of church and state, wanted them removed. There were no public complaints. Our city administrator said that he could not do that. There was no win for anybody in that, he explained. He would either be seen as insubordinate by his boss or disrespectful of the families of service people serving in Iraq. He held true to his standards and held his ground. By this time, he was starting to anger his boss.

There was another series of events and good ideas that were killed and buried by his boss. He was now seen as an adversary. It was clear that the status quo regime did not like this agent of change and that his days were numbered. This whole saga took only six months to play out. I watched it intently. At no time did the city administrator ever criticize his boss, whine, or behave like a victim. He did not say one derogatory thing. He acted with dignity and grace. I had a fellow employee ask me, "Does that guy walk on water or what?" I told him that I had never seen anything like that, ever. When the time came to fire him, he simply told the city fathers he came to help our city not to detract from it and he resigned. I tried to rally what little effort I could to keep him but he was content. He accepted his fate- almost willingly.

The fastest horse does not always get to the finish line first. Maybe you think that life isn't fair but I'll tell you a little something. I know a former city administrator that knew the consequences of his actions and simply refused to do the wrong thing. He knew the difference. A special kind of guy that will tell you that life is brutally fair. That ultimately you will make choices and decisions and decide what kind of man you are going to be. That's a guy that has connected the dots.