The Fall of Giants: The Lost Art of Learning From Our Past

The decline and fall of civilizations throughout history was nearly always man-made, and most often came in the disguise of social justice, unaccountable welfare, perceived protection, and undefined fairness. If modern society continues to duplicate the failed ideological actions of civilizations past, why should they expect a different outcome? Just because you have more money in modern times to throw at the failed ideas of celebrity politicians doesn't mean they will work any better. Those ideas will now only cost more, do more damage, and quicken the decline and fall.

Socialism, Progressivism, Communism, Marxism… all failed ideologies that resulted in the eventual demise of every society they infiltrated. So why are these ideologies embraced so readily by the youth and misguided of today's America? Simple really, they are no longer taught the lessons of history that where so fondly embraced by our forefathers. They where not shown, or refuse to accept, the shortcomings of those ideologies. Convinced somehow that this time the result will be different, and that the reason it will be is because they are not the same people that tried these same things before. All the while not realizing that they are in fact an identical reflection of those that tried and failed before them, who thought themselves somehow different than those that preceded them.

Our Constitution was drafted specifically to take note of the failings of past societies, and capitalize on the successes. Great men debated laboriously over every detail and word. The words of the Constitution where not made for "interpretation", but for application. And as times and needs changed, it was meant to be added to, and refined, not disregarded and replaced by regulation and rules set by soft-tyranical politicians. Contentious issues of the day, such as slavery, where carefully considered by those who hoped that the great Republic they where building would have the tools necessary to end such a deplorable matter of owning the life of another man. These men did not seek to make a perfect Republic, but instead sought to create one that would always be in a state of perfecting. Always improving, always expanding liberty, freedom, and honor. 

Until as a society we embrace the lessons of our past, and the wisdom of those who sought to protect us from it, we are simply following the same script that so many civilizations before us have followed. Our fall and demise will be no less dramatic, or significant. Simply another failed society that future generations will look upon and wonder how a giant such as we were could have fallen so far and left so little in the matters of freedom and liberty for those to come after us.

Turn In Your Arms, The Government Will Take Care Of You

Late last month two billboards appeared in Greeley, Colorado in which an image of three Native Americans are used to make a gun rights argument, and a controversy has arisen over the perceived insensitive nature of the message. For those who don’t know the back story of the plight of Native Americans, making light of atrocities the federal government committed against Native Americans may not be the best way to argue against gun regulations, although the lessons of history are definitely valuable, so perhaps this sort of billboard will at least start some discussion on the matter.

To summarize for those who may not know the history (because it’s not really taught in schools anymore), on December 29, 1890 at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment went into a camp to disarm the Lakota Indians that had been corralled there during the mass indian relocations of the late 1800’s.

In the years prior to the massacre, the U.S. Government had been taking the lands of the Lakota, forcing them to surrender their ancestral homes, and be relocated to other reservations to make way for white settlers. This band of Lakota was not where they where supposed to be according to the U.S. Government. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota at wounded knee, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it. A scuffle over his rifle escalated and an accidental shot was fired which resulted in the 7th Cavalry’s opening fire indiscriminately with a Hotchkiss gun (a revolving barrel machine gun), and rifles, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their own fellow troopers.

A few Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the attacking troopers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but U.S. cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed. By the time it was over, at least 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 wounded (4 men, 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. To add insult to this atrocity, the Army awarded twenty Medals of Honor, it’s highest honor to the solders who butchered the Lakota. To date the US government has refused to rescind the awards.

The lesson to learn here is that the Lakota where disarmed out of fear, not for anything they had done wrong. It should be noted that during the course of the indian wars of the 1800s, there was not a single act of violence perpetrated by Native Americans in the Dakotas. In every instance of violence, it was the US Government that was the instigator. Former Pine Ridge Indian agent Valentine T. McGillycuddy stated in a letter to General Leonard W. Colby in 1891, “No citizen in Nebraska or Dakota has been killed, molested or can show the scratch of a pin, and no property has been destroyed off the reservation.” So basically, every tragic death in this time was an unwarranted attack by the U.S. Government against it’s own people.

So while the debate of political correctness over the billboard will surely continue, the underlying message will probably go largely unmentioned. Those who say that the government would never seize your guns will conveniently ignore the times they did just that in the past, including those times in recent history. Typically a societal reaction based on fear and ignorance, resulting in meaningless laws that will do nothing to curb the violence perpetrated by those who choose to ignore them. It is not just about our right to own guns, it about our willingness to surrender that right or not, even in the slightest amount. Because at the end of the day if we are willing to surrender our liberties in this matter, regardless of the degree, what else are we willing to surrender?

Real Change in America: Our Time is Now

[alert style=”info”]Ed. note: Today we have an amazing guest post from Andrew Dymski. Check out his company, GuavaBox, or follow him on Twitter. Enjoy the article and let us know your thoughts in the comments. [/alert]

 

A variety of emotions, stringing from anger to apathy, blaze through my heart, while my head struggles to make everything add up. This morning I sit and contemplate the results of the election with an element of clarity slowly emerging in my puzzled mind. I realize that I’m not afraid of four more years with the same leader as the last four. We are Americans and we fight on toward another day.

No, my fear was for our beloved American experiment in freedom and liberty for man. Could she survive four more years with the citizenry that would elect that platform to power? The curtain is about to be lifted on this act of our great American story. My fears are settled by the hope that we as American men of faith play a role in the plot.

 

The torch of freedom rests in our hands.

To preserve her, we must take her message to our heart, families, and communities. We cannot rely on our elected officials to provide for our every need and security for us and for our families.

For real change to dawn on America, Americans must change. This change will not be the result of force and submission, but that of Christ-like love. Americans must be marked by a love that lifts up one’s neighbor and strengthens the bonds of family. We, as Christian men, through Christ, are the instruments of this change, and there is a lot of work to be done.

 

Now is our time to work.

I believe there are three areas where we must begin to work like never before. Our work will not be glamorous, but it will be real.

It begins in our hearts. God has called us to quiet our hearts and seek His face. With humble hearts, we must commit to knowing Him more deeply, asking God to show us where we can grow as men.

Next we must get to work in our homes, to take care of our families or prepare for the future. Owe no man a dime. Take an inventory of your life and your spending. Prune where necessary; this will be painful, but it will also spawn fruitful growth. Tithe if you haven’t. Start working toward paying off your credit card debt. With debts paid off, we have room to start saving for a day of trial.

Stock up on the essentials, enough for a few days, weeks, and eventually months. We can look no further than the storms of Katrina and Sandy to know that the faith that we placed in our federal, state, and local government is unearned and unworthy.  We must prepare to care for our family and offer assistance to our neighbors in these hard times.

If married, bring your family together around the table. We must know each other better. Young lives are shaped around that table, in laughter and in tears. I cherish the many nights with my father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, and siblings where we heard stories of family history and gained a deep perspective on faith in Christ.

Third, we must begin to invest into our community. Dig deeper into your church family and find ways to give back. Join a civic group that gives back to your community like our dads and granddads did before us.  Seek out older mentors when available and don’t be afraid of leadership positions for we learn by doing. God calls us to love, and therefore to know, our neighbors. In times of trial, we rely on each other for support and safety.

 

Real change will not be brought to America by campaign slogans, politicians, or yet another government program. Republican or democrat leadership; it doesn’t matter. You bring real change and I bring real change. Change is brought to one life, one loving act of grace at a time. It won’t always make us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, but it is the right thing to do.

The world isn’t looking toward us, men. We have been passed by as an old-fashioned and inferior by the media, by the feminist movement, and by our post-modern culture. Yet, as men, our role is the same: to lead and to serve. It is our duty to stand our post and defend the dignity of the individual- the dignity that rests in the reality that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and known by God. As men, we hold fast to this call, not out of fear, but out of love. I challenge you to ask yourself this simple question: if not me, then who?

Our time is now.

[alert style=”success”] Sound Off: What are you doing as a man to create real change? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

Election 2012: The Reason I Am Disappointed, Yet Faithful

We are now twelve hours into the aftermath of Barack Obama’s clinching of the 2012 Presidential Election and I feel like most of us are still in a haze (not that kind of haze, Colorado). Some are angry, some are joyful. Some are disappointed. I am in that camp… but I am also faithful. Here’s why:

 

Mitt Romney is a genuinely good man.

Forget anything anybody ever said about Mitt Romney not caring about “the little guy” or the 47% percent that do not pay taxes. It’s not true. I genuinely believe that Mitt Romney is a patriot that has America’s best interests at heart. I campaigned for Mitt in 2008 and I got to know him (as a candidate) very well while everybody was on the McCain/Huckabee/Giuliani buses. I got to work for him multiple times while campaigning in Boca Raton and let me tell you: he cares.

Unfortunately, the Obama campaign did a great job of painting “the rich guy” as a heartless, emotionless, bag of money that was unrelatable. My biggest disappointment is not that Barack Obama is our president for another four years, but that the American people will not see the goodness of Mitt Romney.

They won’t see a country that champions small business. They won’t see a country that seeks energy independence. They won’t see a country that cracks down on Chinese trade and encourages doing business with Latin America. They won’t see a country that is the hope of the world, or the city on a hill. Therein lies the disappointment.

 

Moving forward, I am faithful

Thankfully, we don’t put our hope in the temporal.

So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
–2 Corinthians 4:18

We put our hope beyond presidents and governors and senators with measly two, four, or six year terms–––we put our hope in Jesus. And he is undefeated. Unlike politicians of past/present/future, he has never lost.

The Master declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I’m the Sovereign-Strong.”
–Revelation 1:8 

So we move on. We love and support. Everyone. Including President Obama.

Remind the believers to submit to the government and its officers. They should be obedient, always ready to do what is good. They must not slander anyone and must avoid quarreling. Instead, they should be gentle and show true humility to everyone.

Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
–Titus 3:1-5 

What is our greatest command? Love God, love people. We can’t do that if we’re too busy bickering over a now passed election or about a leader that doesn’t believe in fiscal responsibility like we do. There is hope in the future when we have faith in a big, big God.

Instead of sharing your petty political views on Facebook (because who has ever changed their mind after reading your status, anyway?), let’s rise to our calling as Christ followers. Let’s move forward, like the very campaign slogan of our Democrat champion, and pursue an America that follows Jesus over party line.

[alert style=”info”]Sound Off: What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

It’s Time For God’s Election

Someone remind me, isn’t there something going on Tuesday? I feel like I’m forgetting something.

It’s nearly impossible not to be aware of the fact that the elections are this Tuesday. Everywhere you turn, you are confronted by signs, commercials, billboards, and people who all want to remind you to vote and know who you are going to vote for.

Let me begin by saying that I believe it is a good thing to vote. Be aware of what is being discussed, debated, and base your vote on what you believe to be right.

However, in our country today, there is a tendency to rely too much on politics. We act as though whoever is in office after Tuesday will either save our country, or lead us to ruin. I want to submit the idea that we place to much faith in those in office. It is not political powers which should shape our culture. We should not rely on those in office to care for the poor. We should not expect those who run our country to be at the forefront of taking care of the environment. We should not hope that the next president will be our salvation.

It is time that the Church steps up and begins taking the lead in the issues of our world. We can no longer pass off responsibility and wait for the government to solve our problems.

I want to first offer some encouragement, and then a challenge.

 

BE ENCOURAGED

No matter who wins the election, God is in control. No matter who is in office, God reigns. The fate of our country, and the fate of every individual rest only in the hands of our Creator.

 

BE CHALLENGED

No matter who is in office… no matter what is decided politically… our responsibility does not change. It is the church… the believer… who is to care for the poor, to tend to our planet, and to reach out to the world in love. We are called to tend to the issues we so often pass off as being the responsibility of government.

 

IN CONCLUSION

Know the issues, and vote for the one you believe will be best (even if it is the lesser of two evils), but more than anything know God is in control and our responsibility does not change. Know that the Church has been given the amazing blessing and responsibility to play a role in shaping the world in which we live. Know that no matter what the government does we should strive to care for those who are in need, to empower those who have been neglected, to protect those who can not stand up for themselves, and to live a life which serves as a shining example of the unfathomable love of Christ.

May we pray for whoever the Lord has destined to take office.

May we be respectful of whoever the Lord places in power.

But, above all, may we embrace the privilege of serving our God by serving those around us.

May we be at the forefront of change.

And, may we find peace and comfort in the truth that God is in control.

[alert style=”info”]Sound Off: How do you feel about the elections? Are you ready for them to be over? Who are you voting for? Let us know in the comments below. [/alert]

To Live And Die On Sesame Street

Big Bird and company have been collecting government welfare checks for the past 40+ years, but despite what the liberal media and politicians would have you believe, Big Bird, PBS, and the government founded Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), are doing just fine. In fact, they are doing more than fine, and collecting much less from Uncle Sam than you think.

In light of the outrage at Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s recent debate comments, and in order to really understand what it means to defund PBS, it is important that you have a little background on what exactly PBS is, as well as the CPB and America’s favorite street, Sesame Street. Many people confuse the three as one entity, but they are in fact many, separate entities. It’s also important to understand where their operational funding comes from. So lets start our look into the welfare of Big Bird…

 

In November of 1952, The Ford Foundation’s Fund for Adult Education provided a founding grant to form the Educational Television and Radio Center (ETRC). The purpose of this new entity was to allow small, independent television and radio stations to share their locally produced educational content for community broadcast nation wide. It was a genius idea that allowed small stations to fill their time slots with quality educational programming that they would never be able to produce on their own. The project for all intent and purposes was a huge success, and in 1954 ETRC became a full fledged television network. It produced 5 hours of daily content that was distributed to local affiliate stations around the country who would fill remaining time with their own programming. It is important to note that the early days of educational television where largely funded by private foundations, many of which still fund public television today.

As time went on, the ETRC began to grow and expand its reach, eventually ended up as the National Educational Television network (NET) in 1963. However, along with the name change came a change in direction for the organization, which was largely criticized for the perceived liberal slant of its programming and support for the network began to waiver. In 1966, NET’s viability came into serious question when the Ford Foundation made the decision to withdraw some of its financial support of the network over its liberal leanings, as well as its declining support from affiliates.

In 1967, when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, NET was at the front of the line to receive financial support from the newly formed Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). Initially it was intended that the CPB would provide temporary support for the network while the CPB pursued its own public television venture, PBS. Even with the new government support, NET continued to see the erosion of its affiliates and soon was in serious trouble.

In 1969, PBS began it’s operations and at the same time, NET continued down its liberal leaning path and refused to stop airing controversial programming. Because of this, both Ford and the CPB withdrew funding from NET, pushing the network into a merger with WNDT-TV in 1970; where it still produces series including Frontline, POV and Independent Lens to this day, and continues to get financial support from the CPB.

In 1968, the Carnegie Institute awarded Joan Ganz Cooney an $8 million grant to create a new children’s television program and establish the Children’s Television Workshop, a non-profit educational production company behind the production of several educational children’s programs, including Sesame Street. The program was met with much acclaim, as well as some criticism largely because of its commitment to multiculturalism in its programs. Still by all measures Sesame Street was a hit. NET was the perfect venue for this new ground breaking program, and it was quickly added to the daily lineup. When the PBS network came online in October of 1970, Sesame Street was an easy first choice for the network. Again, up to this point, Sesame Street was largely funded by private donations from the Carnegie Institute.

As the seventies progressed, so did the quality and quantity of public television programs. The CPB continued to extend grants for production and distribution of high quality programing throughout its network of “member” stations which also pay substantial fees for the shows acquired and distributed by the national organization. PBS does not produce any programs of its own, but instead creates programing under contract with third party producers like the Children’s Television Workshop, and local member stations. PBS as an organization does not own any PBS stations, and therein lies the financial problem… as member stations are independently operated, usually by non-profit entities, colleges, states, or even local communities, much of their support funding must come from the communities they serve. In tough times, local stations are hard pressed to find financial support for new content and maintain their stations, so in steps the CPB, who offers grants to “prop up” some of these smaller PBS stations. Over the years, this need has diminished greatly as communities find more value in public television programing, and the States themselves have begun contributing to their programs with their own grants and funding programs.

 

In 2000, Children’s Television Workshop changed it’s name to Sesame Workshop, and having acquired the copyright and trademark rights to the Sesame Street Muppet characters from Henson Companies, Sesame Workshop began reaping substantial financial rewards for it’s licensing ventures of the characters and it’s programming, netting the non-profit in excess of $24.5 million in 2011. In other words, Big Bird made more money than Romney last year in just licensing alone, not including that additional revenue from corporate and individual support.

Big Bird is a 1%’er who is doing just fine and doesn’t really need a government welfare check.

In fact Big Bird takes hardly anything by way of support from PBS anymore, and is largely a huge supporter of the network overall. Today, nearly every home in America with children owns at least one Sesame Street branded product. The multi-million dollar international brand of Sesame Street is seen on televisions in over 140 countries in numerous languages. Big Bird is no small chicken and isn’t going away anytime soon, despite what the media would have you believe.

In 2011, according to its 2010 financial disclosures, the CPB had collected contributions of $449,919,620. Yes, you read that right, nearly a half-billion dollars in contributions. Additionally, $445.2 million was allocated to the CPB by Congress for 2012. To imply that public television is strapped for cash would be a false assumption considering the billion dollars on average it leverages every year. And it could be largely argued that the total amount subsidized by the government could potentially be raised by further private support. In any case, cutting funding for the CPB would not, as liberal comentators would like you to believe, result in the end of public television.

 

In 1995, when the Republican led Congress attempted to defund the CPB, liberals went nuts with the same “Kill Big Bird” rhetoric we see today. They did it again in 2005. Through their control of the media, they convinced the public that without government welfare, Big Bird was destined to live out his days in the unemployment line. Not wanting to wear the “I killed Big Bird” moniker, politicians in the end buckled to the pressure and scrapped the idea of defunding, and the welfare checks kept rolling in… and the CPB was happy to cash them.

PBS as a national entity licenses broadcast right of Sesame Street for its member stations, and PBS and Sesame Street have in may ways become synonymous. Nearly 60% of the funding of PBS’ revenues come from private membership donations and grants. Federal funding for PBS amounts to just 15% of its revenues, and much of the rest is solicited from “viewers like you”. Loss of government funding would not mean the end of PBS, but may mean that local members would have to pony up a little more support for their programs and local stations. In addition, there is nothing preventing member stations from accepting commercial advertising dollars, something many feel is taboo when it comes to public television, but a viable option to support the network just the same.

There is no doubt that programs like Sesame Street are quality programs that millions of moms depended on for those much deserved moments of peace in their households. It makes sense that government grants could be used to subsidize quality educational programming that would be made available for free to the public. But like most government programs, once the need faded, the government program never did, and it usually grew. In todays world, public television is a diminishing giant, and many argue that it isn’t needed now that other networks are producing quality educational programs. Once the only source for educational programming, we now have networks like the History Channel, Discovery, NatGeo, and others that produce high quality programming that renders much of the educational programming on PBS obsolete, or at the very least outdated. And while Sesame Street is a top program for youngsters, so are programs like Dora the Explorer and others that offer equally strong educational messages on competing networks. Even the performing arts have their network homes outside of PBS now.

 

So what is the real value in public television anymore?

For most, it’s simply nostalgia. But the fact remains that public television is an excellent source for quality programming despite the big budget competitors. But does this warrant more federal welfare? That is the question. Many say that the small amount given to public television amounts to a drop in the bucket in the scope of the national debt, so why bother? But the same could be said of most government programs. So knowing that you need to reduce spending, which of those programs do you choose? The correct answer is, “as many as you can.”

In the case of PBS, they already have a supporting revenue model in place, so government welfare is not really required for PBS to continue on its mission. What is really needed is all of the Americans who scream at the thought of cutting government funding for the network to make financial contributions to their local PBS stations. Something that few actually do. If the 236 million people who watch PBS gave just $2 per year, that would make up more than the amount currently subsidized by the government. At $5 per year, we could double their revenue. The best part is that we could have a huge benefit for public television and we wouldn’t be borrowing that money from foreign governments or the Fed to cover it. The problem is that most of the people who decry defunding are the same ones who give the least to the programs they enjoy. Can PBS survive without a government welfare check? Yes, as long as the people who value its services are willing to support it.

We have to remember that our bucket of debt is made up of a whole lot of drops in the bucket. When an entity as noble as PBS can survive without adding to our debt, regardless of how little the amount it contributes to it, it is worth looking at. Big Bird will be just fine.

[alert style=”info”]Sound Off: Do you agree? Let us know in the comments.[/alert]

Politics And The Church

Photo: Alex Workman

[box_light]Today’s guest post is from Alex Workman. I had the absolute privilege of traveling with him on the 2012 Quarterlife Ultimate Road Trip, so let me tell you–––he’s wicked smaht (we did go to Boston, after all). Please visit his website, www.alexworkman.com, and give him a follow on Twitter. Thanks, –JS[/box_light]

I once had someone tell me that if I would even entertain the thought of voting for a Democrat, I must not be saved. Obviously, I took this irresponsible, emotionally charged comment with no offense, but it does show how the church is distorting who and what we, as believers, are.

We live in a world where in many places Jesus and the Republican party are interchangeable. I know a pastor that has a George Bush bobble-head doll in his office and others who would actively promote the Republican agenda and candidates from the pulpit. I even witnessed someone who made shirts that said “Jesus was a Republican” and I do take offense to that.

Health care is a huge issue in this election, and I am sure we will be hearing about all sorts of other social issues as well. Poverty is not just an issue in Africa and other third-world nations, but also an issue in the United States, the richest country in the world. When Jesus was on this earth, He charged His followers with taking care of the widows and the poor. The sad thing is that the Church doesn’t seem to be doing it.

It should never have been the responsibility of the government to take care of the widows and the poor, but because the Church, in many areas, ignores that call, the government must step in and do so. I remember reading a short article in Relevant Magazine a few years ago. I went back and found it and this is what it said…

The Power of Giving

If Christians had given the traditional 10% tithe of their income to their churches in 2004, instead of the 2.56% that they actually gave, there would have been an additional $164 billion available, according to a report released in October called :The State of Church Giving through 2004.” If the churches chose to funnel just $70-$80 billion of that additional income to missions and humanitarian works, the basic needs of every person on the globe would be provided.

With the Republicans calling for less taxes and a restriction on government programs, the church that is supporting them [GOP], is not fulfilling the need. While there are by far more “yeses” than “nos” in Scripture, it seems to me that all I hear about from mainstream Christianity are the things not to do. I totally agree with small government and decreased taxes, but if the poor and the widows are not being taken care of and if the church is not going to step up, someone else will have to. What kind of message does it send when Christians get up in arms about government sponsored (or mandated) programs while they are not actively living out mandates of scripture.

Yes, there are many amazing churches doing incredible things to serve those in need and by no means is this meant to be a knock on what they are doing. It is about the individual. It is so easy to attend church once a week and write a check. It is our time and energy that is a far greater commodity.

I am interested to see how the church addresses this year’s Presidential race. It is my hope the clergy of our nation do not quickly jump to endorse and/or place the emphasis only on a certain candidate or political party, but rather that they’d be quick to serve and challenge society in the loving way that Jesus did. There is too much division in our nation to have those calling themselves followers of Jesus not living out what they say they believe.

What say you?

I’m Paying for Barack Obama’s $4 Million Christmas Vacation

President Obama in Hawaii

I’m paying for Barack Obama’s staggering $4 million Christmas vacation to Hawaii this year… but guess what, it gets better:

YOU ARE TOO! Congratulations!

This year’s Obama family trip to Oahu costs $2.5 million more than 2010’s trip. While the Obamas have rented and paid for a beachfront rental in Kailua, the President’s posse (White House staffers and press) will be staying at the posh Moana Surfrider on Waikiki Beach, among other costs. The breakdown is as follows (courtesy of the Honolulu Register):

Travel: $3,629,622 – At $181,757 per flight hour for Air Force One, this is the most costly portion of the trip. At eighteen hours flying, plus a helicopter, and Mrs. Obama’s early flight, you’re talking #madmoney.
Lodging: $151,200 – Although the Obamas pay for their own beachfront home, there’s still the seven surrounding homes for the Secret Service, US Navy Seals, and Coast Guard… at $1200/day.
Hotel: $72,216 – Home of the President’s staff and White House press corps, the Moana Surfrider can get expensive. Government rates are $177/night, only a fraction of the $250-450/night that commoners normally pay.
Taxpayer Costs: approx. $260,000 – Historically, this is the expense that local taxpayers are stuck paying. This includes police overtime and $10k for an ambulance to follow the Obama party around for the duration of the trip.

Of known, estimated costs, this totals well over $4.1 million. Certainly, there are other unknown costs, like security upgrades and on-island travel. Even so…

Why?

You see, if it costs in total to get away from all of America’s problems, it costs more for the American taxpayer. That’s not really a great way to endear yourself to a nation. Those from the Obama camp are already spinning webs of justification in relation to previous presidential trips, but I don’t buy it.

The fact of the matter is that we’re still in a poor economy. The average American has little to no savings and is fighting. The appearance of opulence from a POTUS who brands himself as the peoples’ choice appears to be extremely misguided. I won’t pretend to be Mr. Obama, but if I was, doesn’t Camp David sound like a great alternative? At the very least, it’s cost effective and gives the appearance of a President who is wholly concerned with making this country great.

All I have to ask is one thing: if being a part of the Secret Service means I get to stay in a beachfront home for eighteen days, where do I sign up?

What are your thoughts? Is this trip excessive, or in-line with the norm?

 

(Photo by Joaquin Siopack-Pool/Getty Images)

C. Fred Bergsten is the MAN.

C. Fred Bergsten

My boy C. Fred Bergsten wrote a snippy little op-ed for the New York Times on Wednesday, entitled, “An Overlooked Way to Create Jobs.”

I’ve never met good ‘ole C-Fred before, but part of me thinks we’d be BFFs. All of the clamor these days is surrounding jobs…

“I want a job.”
“Where’s my job?”
“I need work.”
“Screw unions.”

Ok, I added the last one, but you get the idea. What’s more, everyone’s clamoring for jobs and Obama doesn’t have the sorriest clue how to create them.

Enter: C-Fred. Like his rap-worthy name, C-Fred started dropping bombs in the name of job creation. Let’s take a gander… Continue reading “C. Fred Bergsten is the MAN.”