"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Leadership Series: Political Parties

The operative theme of today’s essay is captured by a quote from one of our founding fathers (Ms. Palin, please note the name for future Q and A purposes):

“In my many years I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a congress.”

John Adams
US diplomat & politician (1735 - 1826)

As you know, in the United States, a “congress” is the term used to encompass both the house of representatives and the senate. And, as you also know, those two bodies are made up of elected individuals who belong almost entirely to one of two political parties. So what Mr. Adams was really saying is that three or more useless men make up a political party. What is it about our political parties that cause them to fit Mr. Adams conclusion so perfectly? Why are political parties so unable to provide leadership? Why are they totally useless in any form of crisis or difficulty? Why do they always revert to the same solution(s) regardless of issue or crisis?

To wit. The Party out of Power (POOP) with their limited IQ leaders (think Bush II, Delay and Hastert) engaged in two basic activities during their regime. These two activities were spend, spend and spend and war, war and war. For eight years they borrowed massive quantities of cash from everyone with cash to lend and used it to spend, spend, spend and war, war, war. What’s wrong with that you ask? Well, the people wanted them to stop spending and stop the warring; that’s what was wrong with that. Why were the people opposed to the spending and the wars you ask? Because after a while the people realized that the efficacy of the spending and the wars was not determinable. That’s why. What do you mean by efficacy one may ask? Efficacy means no measurable results for the dollars and lives spent. We repeat no measurable results for the money or, in the case of war, lives spent.

So, PIP (Party in Power) got tossed and became POOP. The POOP at the time then became PIP. Because we only have two of these gatherings of useless fools making up our congress, one has to be PIP and the other has to be POOP or vice versa.

Now, wouldn’t you think that the new PIP, formerly POOP, would recognize that the people tossed the old PIP because all they did was spend, spend, spend and war, war, war when the people wanted them to stop the spending and stop with the wars? Of course, any intelligent person would say yes the new PIP would make the changes to stop with the spending and stop with the wars. So what did the new PIP do, you ask?

Spend more and war more. That’s right. Turns out the new PIP leaders were as shameful as the previous group (think Obama, Reid and Pelosi.) They increased spending and increased warring. And now they face the same consequence that POOP faced two and four years ago. The people are fed up because their message is not being received and the wasteful spending and wasteful warring keep on just like the Energizer bunny rabbit keeps running.

As the song says, ‘When will they ever learn?” Well, they won’t. John Adams knew it over 200 years ago. And that is why we at TheFundamentals keep referring back to the fundamentals. The useless fools who are a congress and the useless fools who are a political party are not the answer to our problems. They are the problem. They create the problem and transfer it back and forth between themselves ad infinitum. And, in so doing, they perpetuate their nonsense while perpetuating their employment, their benefits, their pensions and their self importance.

They will seize any opportunity and call it a crisis. Planes attacking buildings – a crisis. Wall Street lenders getting caught up with crappy loans – a crisis. Petty dictators puffing about their intentions – a crisis. Whacked out scientists bemoaning a pending rise in temperatures – a crisis. Lazy over fed citizens procreating undereducated spawn – a crisis. Kids puffing on weeds growing in the forest preserve – a crisis. Aberrant behavior from the neighborhood pervert – a crisis. Low wage countries seeking to build an economic base – a crisis. Two boys thwarted in seeking recognition via matrimony vows – a crisis. Someone can’t get every possible health care procedure they may need or want – a crisis. Foreclosure rising – a crisis. Unemployment up - a crisis. And every crisis warrants more spending and, sometimes, more warring.

Here’s what they don’t call a crisis – Excessive spending and excessive warring. Excessive government employment, wages, benefits and pensions. Excessive contracts going to the military industrial complex.

America is facing two crises’: Excessive government spending and excessive government warring. All the debt incurred and all the lives lost have still not changed the thinking of the useless and shameful congress. So back and forth we go; and the debt rises and the wars go on.

John Adams saw the problem years ago. Unfortunately, he didn’t see the solution. Just think how many elections have come and gone since John Adams was president (1797-1801.) Is there any possible government solution that does not involve spending or warring?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leadership Series: A Pictorial

America, meet the people you have chosen as your leaders...

...and you wonder why we have lost our way?

Friday, October 22, 2010

NPR: All Things Considered, a Waste of Taxpayer Money

This story is not only hard to believe; it tells us a lot about the problem when government decides to expand way beyond the confines of its enabling document, the US Constitution. Funding public broadcasting is NOT empowered in Article I, Section 8 of said document.

NPR is the abbreviation for National Public Radio. It really stands for National Progressive Radio. NPR receives American taxpayer funding. One of its analysts/commentators is a fellow named Juan Williams, a good and reasonable guy. Mr. Williams also shows up on several Fox News shows including the Sunday show which is hosted by Chris Wallace who happens to be the son of long time 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace. Fortunately, Mike Wallace retired several years ago after hanging on way too long to his overblown inquisitor role on the Sunday evening show. Fortunately, his son anchors the Sunday morning show because he usually tries to ask the incisive questions that you will not find on any PBS, ABC, CNN, NBC or CBS Q and A shows.

So much for lead in and background. Back to NPR and Mr. Williams. Here is what Mr. Williams said on one of the many gasbag talk/opinion shows on Fox when asked about the Muslim threat to the US, “…when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous."

Wow. What a revelation. He gets nervous as does and would any thinking person who is not on alcohol, drugs or some dopey political correctness trip. He gets worried. Well, Mr. Williams so do we. Why wouldn’t we? The subject folk dress to set themselves apart. They behave to set themselves apart. They come from countries that will not protect much less tolerate the practice of other religions. And how would you like to depend on Muslims to guarantee your “Bill of Rights” rights? They have a whole bunch of whacked out extremists who have displayed a measured, consistent tendency to hurt Americans. So, only a fool would not be concerned or worried.

Well, guess who the fools are? Guess who has decided that not only is Mr. Williams not entitled to speak his mind but that he can no longer be employed at NPR? Well, maybe the National Association for the Advancement of Muslim Women you might guess, huh? Or the Muslims for the Ethical Treatment of Americans, huh? Or, Muslims Against Veiled Threats While Driving?  Maybe the New York Times you might guess, huh? You know, one of those first amendment operations that believes that the freedom of speech concept stops at the boundaries of their editorial pages, huh? It sure wouldn’t be a freedom of speech outfit like National Public Radio or PBS or some other group of public people who are supposed to be non political. But, these public broadcasters sure behave like politicians. They are constantly begging for money even on top of all the taxpayer funds they receive.  And they blast off their progressive, liberal agenda as if no other thought, ideas or concepts could possibly warrant consideration.

In cancelling his employment, NPR issued a statement and it included this nonsense, "His remarks on The O'Reilly Factor this past Monday were inconsistent with our editorial standards and practices, and undermined his credibility as a news analyst with NPR," the statement read. If you have time to waste, read the entire statement here: http://www.npr.org/about/press/2010/102110.Statement.html

So, let’s look at the statement and then let’s look at what we can and should do. The statement would suggest NPR has editorial standards and practices. Apparently one of those standards and practices is: Do not speak the truth. So, NPR engages, by editorial standard and practice, in a policy of only speaking certain “acceptable truths.” Now that is political correctness gone crazy. And it leads to our second observation. No taxpayer money should ever fund any activity that reduces or controls either freedom of speech or speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. NPR clearly does not support such a freedom of speech policy. Ergo, NPR is ineligible for taxpayer funds. Let the progressives fund this crap. Think about it, the United States borrows money from all over so that fools at NPR can promote their foolish agenda and nonsensical political correctness crap. These fools would be hard pressed to be employed at the local car wash drying vehicles (we mean no disrespect to car wash personnel.)

TheFundamentals is writing the following letter to its congressman and senators.

Dear Senator ________: National Public Radio is the recipient of taxpayer funds and, through their recent actions; they have displayed a disregard for the first amendment protected freedom of speech right of an American citizen. They do not deserve any public funding. I ask that you vote against any funding of their operation and report back to me what action you have taken in this regard. Thank you.

Please feel free to use all or any part of it in correspondence to your representative and senator. You can access their email addresses on TheFundamentals main webpage. In the meantime, the next time they beg for your money tell them to, “Wait, wait. Don’t ask me. Ask the Saudis.”

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Leadership Series: Our Contribution

Our essays are a mixture of lessons learned and wisdom gained, through experience and common sense. Or, so we say. We express these lessons and observations with humility, some doubt, occasional smidgens of wisdom and purpose; we hope. We know from our own observations and listening to others that we, us Americans, have lost our way. There is no great lesson in losing one’s way. The only thing to do is turn back, find our way and follow the good path. Only the fool would continue on the wrong path. This is true. It is not complicated. Yet, we make it complicated.

We usually speak with some specificity – we talk about deficits and debt and bankruptcy and redemption. We speak to problems of corruption and meddling lawyers and bureaucrats. We worry about too many laws; too many protected groups; too many special interests because change is difficult and scary and challenging. The corruption we address is well camouflaged. It is so well camouflaged that it is now the established wisdom of many of our people. Many of our young people. This is not good.

We observe constantly. We observe children dressing and acting as an adult which, of course, is normal. What concerns us are adults dressing and acting as children.

We see the inexperienced claim the mantle of leadership through processes that have been corrupted through the human weaknesses of greed and pride and envy.

And most of all, more than anything else, we see fear. Constant fear. Not the healthy fear that keeps us from harm’s way and disciplines us to become our better selves. No, we see the fear that is manipulated by those in power to guide and bend and distort the learned values of past generations for their very brief and passing benefits. This form of fear is now used by the few, the minority, to control the many. This form of fear is not new to humans but it is in direct conflict with the beliefs and values of our founders and our forefathers and our country. We repeat. This form of fear is being foisted upon the majority by a minority of protected groups, special interest folk, lots of government employees and very weak elected officials. They are a minority. They are nowhere near as powerful as they present themselves.  Remember, there are millions of us who work hard, pay taxes, obey the law and are financially responsible.  There are thousands in the congress and the state legislatures who are financially promiscuous.  They have a lot of supporters but no where near as many as we do who are financially responsible.

So, we go back to these beliefs and values frequently to remind our self and those who may privilege us with their attention to our words, that we are right in following these learned lessons and embracing these various time tested forms of wisdom and common sense.

This is our purpose in these essays. This is our contribution.

We have taken to concentrating on the concept of leadership. We will continue to do so. Can the nature of leadership; the characteristics of good leaders; the examples of accomplished leaders change over time? We think not. So, we go back and seek examples; seek characteristics; seek definition. And we share it.

We think the one most profound component of leadership is trust. We think trust is built; not bestowed; not the result of an election or an inheritance or the result of good fortune or timing. We think it is human nature to seek leaders. We think good leaders do not offer or promise anything. They demand; they struggle; they fail; they persevere; they show up; they set examples; they avoid the spotlight, the vanity, the false pride of their position and they understand the brevity of success and fame.

Where or where are the leaders? They, of course, are everywhere. They are our mothers and our fathers, our sisters and our brothers; they are the next door neighbor and the person behind the cash register at the grocery store. Our cousins; our aunts and uncles. Our grandmas and our grandpas.  They are us.

They go about their business because they believe in the covenant that those who seek their vote, their hard earned wages; their trust; will value this gift and handle it with care. They now recognize that their trust has been misplaced. They are disappointed. But, they know that they will once again need to take charge and need to find a few good women and men who understand the basics of leadership. Who will place values, fundamentals and common sense as their mission and struggle and reject greed, pride, envy and fear. And so doing, they will gain trust and do what needs to be done.

So it is. So it must be. So it always has been.

The pretend leaders must go. Some difficulty and turmoil will follow. And then trust will return. Please do your part to get this job done. It is up to all of us to do this job.  November 2 is a part of this responsibility.  It can be a beginning.  Please do your part.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Mouse in the House

Is there a mouse in your house
Is there a house in your mouse?
What does it mean a house with no mouse
Can it mean the mouse has no house?

Let us think of a really big house
Let us think of our favorite house.
Let us fill the house with so many mice
Wouldn’t a house with many mice be nice?

What could all the many mice be doing
What would these really important mice be brewing?
Could it be that they all worked for us
Could it be that they all made such a fuss?

What if the mice named just one mouse
To be number one; the really main mouse.
Could it be that the main mouse was bright
Could it be that the main mouse was always right?

Of course it could be it’s simple to see
Then that main mouse could make history.
That main mouse of ours may be so very smart
All would try to capture the main mouse's heart.

We would come from many miles around
We would worship this mouse's very ground.
All would be well in this our nice house
All would be well because of this one mouse.

So you can see just how happy we are
We wrote this poem and spread it so far.
We want all to know what is so very true
Except for one thing; our main mouse has no clue.

When this new main mouse got to the house
He found all these droppings from the last mouse.
He was so surprised at what he did find
Made some folks wonder where was his mind?

He said spend money that is the way
He said spend money so what if we can't pay.
He said spending will create all these jobs
But now all we hear are more and more sobs.

It’s not my fault he says east and west
We didn’t create any of this mess.
We are so smart we are so true
Follow us like smoke as it goes up the flue.

Now we don’t like the mouse in the house
We think this mouse is rather the louse.
Now we are not sure just what to do
We are wondering what can anyone do?

Should we sit at home and just wait it out
Hoping for change and a reason to shout.
Of course we can and that’s what we’ll do
We will hope for change that is long overdue.

Then all will be well in the house with no mouse
All will be best for the mouse with no house.
See how hope can solve our quest
See how hoping can be for the best.

All that one really needs to do
Is just wait for a year, maybe two.
Change will come and bring good things
Change will come to mice and kings.

Then all will be well in this land of ours
Peace in the valley; gone our sorrows.
Hope springs eternal; we’re fiscally sound
Jobs for all; spreading the wealth around.

Wait for a year; wait for two
Let’s not make change that is long overdue.
Were on the right track; that we must know
Soon we’ll be able to reap what we sow.

We are so pleased to have mice so smart
We know it’s best to just play our part.
Don’t vote for change; no don’t take a chance
No change for us; we're not Greece or France.

Now we at least know what lies in store
Much of the same; just more and more.
Now we are happy and full of glee
Two more years of repeat history.

We know this mouse that’s in our house
We know it’s better to not change this louse.
Better to keep him and his friends around
At least we know now what will abound.

Now we are happy and so full of glee
No change for us; not for you; not for me.
More of the same, year after year
More of the same; please stand up and cheer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Leadership Series: I am Woman, Hear me Roar

If PIP (party in power) loses the women in the middle, they are done. Well, that was the question for some time. PIP not only did not lose the women in the middle; they had what appeared to be a pretty good lock on their votes and support.  Now, the question is, “How big will the shift of women in the middle be away from PIP?” It appears to be rather big. We will know soon.

The women are on the move and it is not just here. As a simple matter of fact, they are already on the move across the globe and, in some cases, they are moving away from their comfort zone with the center left and the so called progressives. Why? We’ll get to that in just a minute.

There is a website called “Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership.” You can visit them at http://www.guide2womenleaders.com/  When you do, here is what you will read:

• 28 of the 192 country members of the United Nations are lead by a woman

• Women are presidents in Argentina, Costa Rica, Finland, India, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Lithuania and Switzerland

• They are prime minister in Australia, Bangladesh, Croatia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Slovakia and Trinidad and Tobago and in the self-governing territories of The Netherlands Antilles and the Ă…land Islands

Here are some more facts and observations:

• Brazil could well have a woman president in a matter of days

• In over 40 countries women occupy at least 25% and as many as 56% of the seats in the equivalent of our house of representatives and this includes countries such as Iraq, Mexico, Sweden, Australia, Peru, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Peru, Spain and Netherlands

• They occupy 22% of the seats in the British house of commons and 18% of the US house of representatives. Source: http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm

• In 1945 they were 3% of the house of commons; 8% in 1965 and 12% in 1985

• Six women are presently serving as governor of a state; down from nine in 2006.

• 27 US states have never had a female governor. Lots of room for change in the good ole US of A.

So, why? What’s going on? Isn’t politics and political leadership “man’s business?”

Sure, giggle all you want. We giggled when we wrote those words. It is exactly that reaction to the simple statement made above. Politics and political leadership has been the realm of the male and, boy- oh- boy, have the boyz done made a mess of things. There is no worse track record in the history of human events than the performance of men in politics over the last 50 years. Nada. Look all you want. Analyze until the chickens come home to roost because that is exactly what is happening. The roosters may still be crowing and strutting around the barn yard, but the chicks are hatching, all over the place.

Think about who in the male group you would identify as your hero? How about that good ole boy Bill Clinton. Nothing will get rid of this guy. Scandals? Nope. Backing political losers? Nope. Heart attacks? Nope. Wife in high position? Nope.  Here are some others to consider.  Al Gore maybe?  That guy Jerry Brown in California?

Make a list. Check it twice. Mark Sanford? Eliot Spitzer? Robert Byrd? Ahnold Schwarzenegger? Ted Kennedy (RIP)? Alan Greenspan? Bernie Madoff? Rahm Emanuel? Henry Waxman?  Rudy Giuliani?  This guy Guiliani is still making dough off terrorism.  Or maybe Rudy's sidekick Bernard Kerik?  Rush Limbaugh?  Which of these guys are your personal heroes?

If and when American women decide it is time to be fiscally prudent and financially and personally responsible along with a reasonable level of generosity and assistance to those in need, the boyz will be gone for good. The girls just might whip the military in line also.   Could they be the ones to deal with the lack of competition in public education?   Perhaps so.

Watch the analysis of the November 2, 2010 election results. The women are on the move. But the boyz will be the ones moving. Movin' on out.

Hallelujah. It’s about time. Go get ‘em girls. Let’s let Helen Reddy tell you about it in her own words: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaOR_UZYA3g&feature=related

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Leadership Series: In Three Weeks

It is not in our pay grade to even suggest a person or persons for whom we would encourage you to vote. It would be insulting to you the reader/supporter of these essays and this website and it would be highly presumptuous of TheFundamentals. So, we hope you vote three weeks from today and we hope you vote for candidates who will do more than just give lip service to our fundamentals of personal and financial responsibility; self imposed term limits until we can get the real thing; balanced budgets and a renewed commitment to the privacy and absolute minimization of government interference and intrusion into the lives of responsible, taxpaying citizens.

We do think it is reasonable to share with you how we intend to make our election choices. Our criteria are in the form of the following questions which we will either pose to candidates seeking our vote or we will answer based on their statements and past actions. Here are our criteria:

1. Will you introduce legislation to amend the US constitution to establish a 12 year term limit for cumulative time in any national elected office and campaign vigorously for its passage in congress and ratification in your state? Yes or No?

2. Will you introduce legislation to amend the US constitution to require that each two years, congress must balance the budget of the United States in total, for all components and all obligations, unless overridden by a two thirds majority in both the senate and congress? Will you campaign vigorously for its passage in congress and ratification in your state? Yes or No.

3. Prior to the ratification by 2/3rds of the states, will you abide voluntarily by the 12 year cumulative term limit time period and vote down any budget that does not comply with the wording of the above balanced budget amendments? Yes or No?

4. Will you vote to prohibit the Federal Reserve from purchasing and holding US Treasury securities for a term greater than 12 months and that any such purchases must be brought to zero in total during any calendar year? Yes or No?

5. Will you introduce legislation to make it illegal for any federal employee or agent to lie, mislead or in any fashion prevaricate in any way with any citizen of the United States, subject to termination without pay benefits and pension? Will you introduce legislation to eliminate any federal law which enables the prosecution of any citizen for lying to any federal employee or agent unless that citizen has been found guilty of some other felonious act? Will you further vigorously support similar legislative acts within your state if not presently existing? Yes or No.

6. Will you vote to make it much easier for state, city and other municipal entities to file for bankruptcy? Will you provide a bankruptcy route for these entities which permits them a realistic alternative to correct the financial misdeeds and promiscuity of the past 40 years? Will you introduce legislation to permit these entities to file bankruptcy, lobby for its approval and work diligently with other legislators to get this done? Yes or No?

7. Will you commit to vote against any further increases to the debt limit which is set by the US Congress? Yes or No?

8.  Will you commit to introduce and support legislation requiring that the well accepted concept of "loser pays" apply to all federal litigation and also support legislation to limit non economic damages in federal lawsuits?  Will you support similar legislation in your state if not already existing?  Yes or No?

If our candidates get more than one No vote and less than five Yes votes we will not vote for them even if it means not voting for anyone except candidates that are not affiliated with either PIP (Party in Power) or POOP (Party out of Power.) If we cannot determine their position and they will not give a Yes or No answer, we will record them with a No vote for that question. Our questions are specific and the performance of the winning candidate can be readily measured. TheFundamentals believes that candidates must be willing to take Yes or No positions on fundamental issues and be evaluated based on their performance on these issues.

We know that our list of questions is biased with our viewpoint. We know that you may well have other questions and issues that are much more important to you. We hope you will confront and do your best to question your candidates with your questions and issues.

We would like to hear from you with your questions and issues because we have a strong feeling that you will have some real good observations and we withhold the right to modify our seven questions with your better questions/issues.

Please vote on November 2, 2010.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Leadership Series: What Good Leaders Do and Do Not Do

Previously we wrote about our responsibility in attracting good leaders. The essence of that essay was, they are all over the place but we have to show them that we will follow their leadership; not ask them what they can do for us. Leaders don’t want to be charitable foundation benefactors. They want to bring their skills to problems; they want to examine, analyze and choose from the alternatives; they want to set goals and give themselves a bit of margin for error and then they want to get the job done. If they get the job done; good leaders want very little else. Maybe a thank you. A kiss or a hug from a loved one (in private; not in front of a campaign donating audience) and some privacy for their private lives.

This essay is about how to tell a good leader by the things he/she does and does not do.

What good leaders do and do not do:

1. They don’t write books that make them look good and that enrich them. They let historians write history books. Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain, required a one hundred year waiting period before publishing his autobiography.  As a matter of fact, a good leader might write his/her memoirs but if it covers a period of public service when they were paid as a public employee, they would turn any monies received over to their employer who happens to be the taxpayer. They would also postpone publication for at least ten years.

2. They don’t establish foundations with their names prominently displayed on the door. Again, much the same issue. If they had a private life, let them do as they see fit. If they take a public paycheck, they owe any receipts based on that service to their employer – the taxpayer.

3. Examples: Al Gore lost; he made a movie about global warming and lots of people paid to see it. Okay.  It may be patent nonsense but it's OK.

4. Examples: Bill Clinton: earned a lot of public paychecks. Then earns a small fortune based on his public employment. Small fortune is not based on his private activities; it’s based on his public employment. Monies are due the taxpayer. But that is not the law. So, what does a real leader do? He turns it over to the taxpayer and gets a real job. Where’s the money Bill?  Ditto for fellows like Rudy Giuliani and Tony Blair.

5. Leaders do not blame the situation they wanted to manage on their predecessor. They sought out the job! If there are problems that continue from the predecessor they make changes and explain why they did what they did and why the changes will make a measurable improvement. And then they move on and accept responsibility for everything that follows. When you encounter a person or a group of people who blame others for things, past or current events, you have all you need to have to know that you are dealing with losers. You have prima facie evidence that the blamers will never take responsibility; never be accountable and never show any real evidence of leadership. If you stick by them, you know that you are sticking by a loser.

6. Leaders constantly accept responsibility. They make it a point to say that this is what they are doing and why. They do not find someone who disagrees with them and blame the unacceptance of their ideas on those who see the situation or world differently.

7. They do not use teleprompters when giving a speech. As a matter of fact, they make their speeches very brief because they know what they need to say; they say it concisely; they set out their goals against which progress or failure will be measured and they will succinctly report back when progress is either achieved or not. They don’t need a teleprompter because they know what they’re saying!

8. Good leaders do not buy votes or supporters or watch polls that measure their popularity. They analyze issues, they consider alternatives, they measure consequences – intended and otherwise; they decide and watch what happens carefully and if they see that they made a mistake or that what they choose is not working out, they make changes fast and they own up to the mistake.

9. They do not offer things. For example, they do not say you have a right to health care or a right to food stamps or unemployment benefits, etc. They do say you have a responsibility to get an education; obey the law; get a job; pay your bills and marry the woman you impregnate. They also tell you to educate your child which means you help them with and make sure they do their homework; you attend their school meetings and you come home sober after work.

10. Good leaders step down. They do not stick around because they have either nothing to do; no alternative or they just like the trappings of power and the public attention. They are busy people. They get out of town. They go home and go back to their real life job.

11. Example: GWBush does not keep showing up, yapping and criticizing his successor even though his successor cannot stop blaming him for everything bad.

12. Good leaders do not set up theoretical and hypothetical measurements that cannot be objectively determined. Good leaders do not spend hundreds of billions of dollars on activities that cannot be measured such as “jobs saved” or “jobs created” when the overall jobs number is either flat or declining. If you can’t measure the results of the program do not fund the program. Good leaders know this simple truth.

13. Trust. Leaders do not repeat old nonsense about how the world used to be. If someone wants to kill you, they say, let’s kill em first. They do not let bad guys into the country because we are free and we want our principles to be honored. Safety and survivability precede principles. Leaders speak honestly about issues; they face facts and they build trust. They deal with reality; not theory. Leave the latter to the theoretical physicists and the Sunday preachers.

14. Bad leaders speak with forked tongues. Speak one thing to one audience and another thing to another audience. Always look good. Always be right. Be above the fray. Talk a good game. Blame the other guy. All examples of forked tongue syndrome. Forked tongue syndrome in now an epidemic among the tenured members of PIP and POOP.   PIP and POOP are infested with bad leaders. 

We’re sure you can think of even more situations and examples of what good leaders do and do not do. Remember, all it takes is one or two good leaders to correct the failings of hundreds of bad leaders. Let’s get moving America. One or two good leaders will correct the decades of bad leaders we have chosen. America, stop choosing bad leaders.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Leadership Series: Finding Good Leaders

Over the past several weeks TheFundamentals has posted essays and references to other essays/articles that touch upon issues of leadership. Ted Koppel spoke about initial measured response from Mr. Bush and then overkill by Mr. Bush. He spoke to the issue of the continuation of these policies under Mr. Obama. He spoke to the failure of our political leaders to rein in both the military activities and other governmental activities that occur under the umbrella of safety and homeland security.

TheFundamentals quoted from President Eisenhower on much the same topics. Prioritize, don’t overreach or establish unreasonable goals; only so much can be done; don’t burden future generations with debt as you try to do things today that sound good/feel good but are elusive and immeasurable in their accomplishment.

Both Bush and Obama have reached way too far with other people’s money and we want to take out a few minutes in this essay to address this failing. Government is established to basically keep order and keep fairness or equity in various aspects of human and group endeavor. It is not the primary place to seek charity or subsidies to buy cars, homes and insulated windows. Charitable organizations and churches and not for profit organizations are the appropriate place to seek needs funded with other people’s money. Unless we embrace this fundamental, America will continue to attract vote buying candidates for public office. We must return to responsible and consistent fiscal, monetary, tax and pro competition policies to replace the corrupt policies of subsidies, vote buying, protected classes and appeals to special interest groups.

Now why do we bring up this matter in an essay on leadership? Our leaders today play a game of giveaway. The game is offer more and get more votes. The game is figure out what larger groups of voters seek and then try to buy them to support your candidacy. It is not at all a game of setting rules, expecting fairness and sacrifice and it is not about seeking commitment to do more with less. Think back to the slogan that JFKennedy offered in his inaugural address. What can you do for your country? Not what your country can do for you.

JFKennedy followed Dwight Eisenhower into the presidency. Eisenhower said set limits. Set priorities. Control those who would seek undue influence. Control what you do. Don’t promise too much. Be sensible. Don’t burden future generations with your plans and schemes and spending.

All this is now gone. No one is talking about cutting back. No one is talking about even balancing spending with receipts. No one is talking about limiting laws and rules and bureaucrats and lawyers. No one is insisting on sacrifice and frugality. These concepts in this paragraph are never even brought up in the American political conversation. Why would a well founded, fundamentals following, sensible, responsible individual throw their hat in the ring to swim against this current; this tsunami of entitlement, giveaway promiscuity?

Managing and spending other people’s money is a fiduciary responsibility in most agency relationships. If you don’t do it with reasonable care, you can be sued and in some instances even subject to criminal penalties. A good leader, be he or she a business person or a regular citizen who lives by the standards of responsibility and common sense is not going to enter the arena of American politics. It is a counter values based environment. It does not run on the rules of goals and objectives and measurement and accountability. It runs on the promiscuity of corruption and excess and very minimal measurement standards. All one need do is examine the major areas of government involvement. The budgets are not balanced. The pensions are not funded. The employees are not given measurable tasks with consequence for failure. The main thing is to always find votes to buy and then find some more. This is not leadership. This is not an attractive vocation for a person who lives by measurement, accomplishment and accountability. A person with fundamental values.

There is great concern in this land of ours that spending is out of control; debt is at the point of self destruction and that the so called leaders, the people in charge, don’t have a clue about what to do so they just keep following what they did yesterday and the day before. Recently, we published brief bios of those identified as being important financial leaders. No; nada real life experience in the entire gang. All have been in their jobs for years. They are not the solution; they have nary a clue about what to do. To use Obama's metaphor, they drove the car into the ditch. Obama just can’t admit that he was in the back seat giving directions.

There are many people who can and would lead us out of this vote buying, future mortgaging debacle that is our public sector. All we have to do is let them know that we will embrace their values and their standards and their accountability techniques. We have to let them know that we want their fundamentals and we will not insist that they buy us off with promises and giveaways and more deficits and more debt. Right now, they think politics stinks because they see the weak people we put in office. We settle for low accomplishment, non competitive vote buyers. The good leaders don’t trust us. They just want some inclination that we are serious. We will follow good leadership. We will sacrifice. We will ask what we can do. We will not ask what someone can do for us.

That’s how simple it is to get good leaders. Show them that you want them. Show them that you will not settle any longer for poor, weak leadership. Good leaders are not going to play a vote buying game. The expression that comes to mind is “build it and they will come.” It’s true. Ask for; no, insist on; no, DEMAND good leadership. Support good leaders. They will come! Tell them we don’t want anything other than good values, common sense and fiscal responsibility. They will get the job done. And, hallelujah, they will then go back to what they do best. Work. They will not hang around to become lobbyists and diplomats and presidential commissions can kickers.

There are a lot of good leaders who will do the job and not stick around.  All they want to know is that they do not have to sell out their good values and their fundamentals trying to buy votes and please one group after another who are constantly seeking something from their government.   So stop thinking and asking someone to do something for you and you start asking what you can do for your country.  And then you do your part when the good leaders lead you to responsible policies and balanced budgets.  You do your part and you let the new leaders know that they must make sure everyone else does the same.  The new, good leaders will get the job done.  Faster than you can believe.  And then they will leave.  That is what good leaders do.  It is a fundamental.