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Blog Posts for June 2010

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Keynes' "Full Employment" is Bullshit Theory


If I had to name one of the top imperatives of life, here's a great one:

Government must never be allowed to choose the "winners" and "losers" of life.
If government is ever allowed to pick the winners or losers, then that government will be rife with corruption and deception. Protected monopolies spring up. Favoritism becomes the only rule by which anything can be predicted. Innovation? No need. Just find the right butt to kiss and you win.

On the other hand, when the market - made up of We the People - chooses the products and services it likes best, freedom abounds. Competition thrives. Innovation blossoms. It has to, because it has to answer to every one of us, and not just to some greased palm of a bureaucrat in charge of an industry.

John Maynard Keynes, one of the ivory tower morons of the 20th century, loved the notion of "full employment." What is that? It's this: if you can work, you do. And if no one has a job for you, then the government will create a job for you, and if need be, it will create a deficit to pay you your wages.

That is such utter stupidity that it ignores a vital truth of life:

Many small businesses are started by the unemployed.
If I'm happily employed by some big corporation and I get nice benefits and a salary that's good for me, I have absolutely zero reason to start my own business - unless I'm just itching to be my own boss and risk my good standing in life. The unemployed - well, they're more desperate. Risking? They're more open to it. And then they start pushing themselves to greater things. In short, they hire themselves. They have to - no one else is.

And you know what? Small businesses are the jobs engine of the nation. (Or at least they used to be - before the era of our resident Super Genius. Now it's the government... but I digress, while actually making my point...)

Keynes - swell thinker that he was - would take all of that away from us. The unemployed would never be unemployed. Heck no... some bureaucrat would instead give the unemployed some job that the market never demanded and that the unemployed would never have chosen for themselves. Genius! Bonus points go to the bureaucrat and politician for penalizing any initiative and self-starting nature of those who try to start businesses.

Ever heard of the saying, "Stay hungry, stay alive?" When a person is unemployed, they get real motivated real fast to change gears - unless of course the government gives them years of unemployment benefits. Then there's no reason for motivation at all.

If I had to pick the most over-inflated brain of the 20th century, FDR would be my first choice. But Keynes is an awfully close runner-up. Thanks to Keynes, we're soon to see our nation's deficit overtake our GDP.

I just had to call bullshit on him and his overhyped status in American culture.

When government artificially props up the market, it's picking the winners and losers and it stops any incentive for invention and creativity. If you believe that America should be governed by We the People, then you would stay true to your principles by rejecting Keynes at every turn.


by Brett Rogers, 6/7/2010 1:25:02 AM

When Your World View Handicaps You


Given an economics quiz, here are the results:

Is there any wonder that the country's economic health is suffering at the hands of our progressive leadership?


by Brett Rogers, 6/8/2010 9:27:57 AM

Lessons from the Primary


I emerge from the Republican primary with a few lessons learned. This is my first year in politics and I got to see it up front and personally. As many of you know, I was very much on the inside of Dave Funk's campaign. Dave is a very classy guy, and handled his defeat tonight with grace.

As a delegate to the Iowa Republican party, and as a guy trying to hawk my wares to the various Republican candidates, I made a lot of relationships. Additionally, I was key to the formation of the Tea Party here in Iowa and Patriot247 and the brainstorming group... I motored my way into politics. With that said, here's my summation of the 3rd District Congressional race, in which Dave (21%) lost a 7-way race, first to Iowa wrestling legend and well-moneyed candidate, Jim Gibbons (28%), and ultimately to State Senator and former mayor, Brad Zaun(43%):

  1. Brad Zaun won the race for one reason and one reason only: strong and established relationships. Iowa is a place where personal friendships matter, and the long-time and experienced politician had the relationships necessary to win. Election success is all about getting bodies into the voting booth. Political relationships and an experienced team make that happen.
  2. Jim Gibbons had more money than any candidate, but he hid from the debates and from the voters - in part, because he doesn't even live in this district. At the convention, the only people who cheered for him were the teenagers he brought with him. He managed a second-place showing tonight because he raised about a quarter million and spent endlessly on advertising.
  3. Dave lost because he didn't raise enough money. Had he raised more money, he would have been able to get his message out to more people. Attracting money is a means of weighing a candidate's viability. It was a challenge for Dave.
  4. On the other hand, Dave did as well as he did because he had strong and passionate supporters and he articulated the argument for freedom better than anyone. No one could beat Dave on the issues. He won the debates. For his first political race ever - and in a crowded field and with not much money - he did pretty good. Another candidate with more money, Mark Rees, only got 4%. And Rees got the nod from the state capital's paper, the Des Moines Register.
  5. While the press tries to spin his loss as a reason to disregard the tea party crowd, they miss the point - whether it's intentional or just lazy thinking, I can't say. I mean, if Dave's loss with 21% of the vote means that the grassroots movement is worthy of dismissal, wouldn't that mean that we can similarly dismiss the Register's endorsements because Mark Rees' loss with only 4% of the vote? But here is the point: a bunch of political novices have just started establishing their lifelong political relationships with each other. If they continue, they'll grow their influence. I told the crowd of supporters this as I introduced Dave at the end of the night. They can't afford to buy into the media's denunciation of their involvement: their country and their children's futures are at stake.
The gubernatorial race is just as instructive. Bob Vander Plaats (41%) lost to former 4-time governor, Terry Branstad (51%). Here's why:
  1. Again, relationships played a factor, but less so than the 3rd District race. Bob has run for governor twice previously, so he had the relationships. So did Terry. A third candidate, Rod Roberts, couldn't crack double digits. It was his first run at governor, so he didn't have the relationships.
  2. Vander Plaats is an amazingly gifted speaker. Far better than Branstad. He started his campaign last year. Branstad started much later. Vander Plaats had deeply passionate supporters. Branstad was well-known to have to have kept two sets of books while he was governor, hence his nickname of "Two-Book Terry." So why did Vander Plaats lose? Because he didn't raise quite as much money, and because he made social conservatism the centerpoint of his campaign. He openly said how he would issue an executive order regarding gay marriage once he became governor. He molded himself in the form of Huckabee, who surprisingly won the caucuses in Iowa in the last presidential election. Right down to the Chuck Norris endorsement, Vander Plaats emulated Huckabee in his third run for governor. And he lost. Though the devout will never admit it, social conservatism (aka making Christian government a priority) does make not a winning campaign. I would suggest that it's because social conservatism is not founded in the American principle of freedom of religion. It turns off a majority of voters, except for the devout. When only 41% of the Republican base in Iowa vote for the pronounced social conservative in the race, and he's a better speaker and has the solid base and has money, social conservatism can't be ignored as a factor in the loss. I have to say it: gay marriage is not the really big issue confronting Iowa today. Vander Plaats stubbornly missed that memo, to his harm.
  3. Finally, Iowans don't like change much. Branstad is a known entity. Vander Plaats was less known. We tend to keep our Senators around (Harkin and Grassley) despite their various and frequent faux pas. Branstad was a four-term governor. Change? It's tough for Iowans. They tend to keep what they know.
What's next for me in politics? I dunno. I think a break for a while - but wow - I sure learned a lot.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 6/9/2010 2:10:45 AM



Today, Doug Deaton stopped by the Des Moines Amplified studios and shot these pictures below. Max, Chad, Holly, and Ray are four of about 70 people using the studios that Duane and I built to help people pursue their dreams.

Our ambition is to put 10 of these in other major cities in the US by the end of the year. We own all of those domains - it's just a matter of finding partners in those cities who want to be part of helping dreams become reality and expand their own networking and potential.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 6/15/2010 12:03:49 AM

How Not to Clean Up a Mess


Obama voter, law professor Ann Althouse, watched the president's address to the nation and was utterly unimpressed.

Well, that was a terrible speech! When it wasn't grim and dreary, it was grandiose. But the grandiosity was so vague... and half-hearted.
Barry H. Obama - Super Genius.

One of her commenters makes an excellent point about the, ahem, oil cleanup effort.

Think of the oil leak in real life terms in your own home.

You didn't watch your kids very well and they went and broke one of those light bulbs that contain mercury. (You know... the ones that Obama wants us to use)

So instead of cleaning up the mess you decide to throw out all of the light bulbs in your house, beat your children to within an inch of their lives and decide to invent a new light bulb. Nevermind that you will be sitting in the dark for 15 years or that you don't have a fucking clue on HOW to invent a light bulb.

Meanwhile you have broken glass and mercury all over your house.

Maybe we should have elected a MOM in chief instead of a planner. Mom would have cleaned up the mess, disciplined the kids and made some sandwiches. plan to make all of your neighbors pay for your new project and take away all of their light bulbs too.

Anyone who still thinks that ol' Barry is a smart leader probably didn't have a capable mother against whom to compare our nation's leader. Because no mom would act so little in the presence of such a mess.


by Brett Rogers, 6/15/2010 10:49:17 PM

Mike from the AP


Got a call this morning from Mike [don't recall his last name] of the Associated Press. His question: "You were one of the founding members of the Tea Party in Iowa; where's the Tea Party headed?"

My answers, in case I get misquoted: "I'm not really involved in Iowa's Tea Party effort any longer because rather than focus on fiscal issues, locally they took it down a social conservative path. I'm not a Christian, so I'm involved in other things. In other areas of the country, they're focusing on the corrupt spending in government, and their numbers are growing. Good for them."

"Why did you get involved in the Tea Party?"

"Because the leadership in Washington thought it was okay to 'take over' private companies. That's not government's role. Private companies belong to the shareholders and the founders and owners. It's a violation of privacy and freedom."

"So where is the Tea Party headed? What happens next?"

"Math wins. You can't ignore the numbers, and our government is spending our children into their future bankruptcy. Both Republicans and Democrats are to blame for that, and both Republicans and Democrats are joining the Tea Party. My folks, lifelong Democrats, will likely vote Republican in the future. That will continue to happen until the leadership in Washington is voted out of office."


by Brett Rogers, 6/16/2010 11:02:27 AM

A State Backwards


Today on Father's Day, some of my sons and I played Outburst, a game in which you have to guess 10 answers within a given category. One of the categories was "States that end in the letter 'A'," and given that 21 states end in the letter A, it wasn't too hard. But how many words in the English language end in the letter A? Very few. And yet, nearly half of the United States end in A.

Can you name them?

Which state ends in G?

Which state ends in K?

Which state ends in H?

Which 3 states end in I?

Which 2 states end in T?

Which 2 states end in Y?

Which 2 states end in D?

3 letters - E, N, and O - have 4 states each. Can you name them?

And finally, what states end in S?

Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there. Hats off to the dads I know who regularly read this blog: PR, Jeff, Casey, and Hoss (whose artwork I will soon blog about).


by Brett Rogers, 6/20/2010 12:45:23 PM



Recently, I wrote about the Iowa GOP's lack of willingness to engage me and my services. Fair enough. Evidently, what I offer is not attractive to that market.

My belief about Des Moines Amplified, which I say over and over to our hosts, is that it serves as a networking hub. You'll meet people through this place that you would have never met otherwise. While you might not make your income here, you might double your income.

I got a call this morning from one of our hosts. If all goes as planned, I'll have a meeting with one of the longest serving and highest-ranking Democrats in the Midwest sometime in the next week. The reason? The politician needs a new web site.

Me, one of the founders of the tea party in Iowa, perhaps doing work for a prominent Democrat because the GOP wouldn't give me the time of day...

Don't know if it will happen, but I find it absolutely hilarious that it's even in discussion. And as I said before, if hired, I'll give the same level of passionate customer service and strategic consulting I give to all of my clients. Funnier yet if it then leads to other work...


by Brett Rogers, 6/21/2010 1:31:36 PM

Rebirth, or Revisitation, or... something


A decade ago, I wrote a software product called Newsletter Ease. It's still in use by the Business Record here in Des Moines, and by the Iowa Sports Connection. As a product, it had a ton of good features, which I think is why it has endured for some organizations as long as it has.

Late at night, I'm recreating some of its functionality into my web site toolkit that I offer to clients. It's interesting to tackle again the logic and interface hurdles that I encountered in 2000.

Hopefully tonight I make significant movement in wrapping up template management.

It's funny how much of my previous work is all coming together now.


by Brett Rogers, 6/23/2010 12:26:18 AM

What's the difference between Chuck Grassley and Roxanne Conlin?


On May 20, 2010, Chuck Grassley broke ranks with Republicans in the Senate and voted for the Democrats' financial reform bill.

Because he did that, the Democrats in both the House of Representatives and the Senate were able to work out a compromise financial reform package.

Had Chuck Grassley not voted for that first bill on May 20th, it wouldn't have reached compromise, but because he voted "Yea," it passed 59-39, as opposed to 58-40, which would have allowed a filibuster against the bill and prevented it from moving forward.

According to the Washington Post article, "A new consumer protection bureau housed in the Federal Reserve would have independent funding, an independent leader and near-total autonomy to write and enforce rules. The government would have broad new powers to seize and wind down large, failing financial firms and to oversee the $600 trillion derivatives market."

I ask: why would Chuck Grassley support Washington having more power and near-total autonomy and new authority to seize the private sector? Is that what you wanted? He said that the reason he voted for the first bill was that despite its flaws, "a message needs to be sent to Wall Street that business-as-usual is over."

Last year, Chuck Grassley held several town halls, all of which were well-attended. He insisted that he got the message. That message was that We the People wanted less government intrusion into our lives.

His vote for bigger and more powerful government, at odds with his fellow Republicans in the Senate, shows that he clearly didn't get the message at all.

Let me ask you: did he represent you when he voted for a bill that will make lending more expensive to you?

Let me ask you: which is the bigger threat to your children's future? Is it Wall Street or is it Big Government?

The sad truth of it is that our Republican Senator is less Chris Christie than he is Arnold Schwarzenegger.

On May 20, 2010, Roxanne Conlin might as well have been our senator. It's true... because like Chuck Grassley, she would have voted for that financial reform bill. I mean, a supporter of big government, by any other name, is still a supporter of big government. No wonder Conlin is closing in on him in the polls. Chuck Grassley makes it hard to tell the two of them apart.

We need to face the fact that our Republican Senator wears big government stripes. And he wears them proudly. To him, every problem in America is a problem the government needs to handle. At every opportunity, Chuck Grassley works to give government more control and more money. Somewhere along the way, he forgot that his primary job in Washington is not to solve our every problem, but to protect our freedoms.

We gave a pretty good effort last year at the town halls. We took time out of our work day. We crafted signs. We spoke out. In fact, we showed up in such numbers that he had to change venues to accommodate the crowd. All that effort, evidently, is soon forgotten.

I'm not exactly sure what it would take to remind Senator Grassley what We the People want. But just in case he or someone on his staff reads this, here's a hint:

Limited Government.
For more detail about how that's supposed to work, I highly recommend the Constitution of the United States of America.

A message needs to be sent to Senator Grassley that bigger-and-bigger-government-as-usual is over. We sent it once, and he didn't listen. But if he doesn't get that message now, Chuck and Roxanne look pretty much the same in many ways.


by Brett Rogers, 6/26/2010 12:33:31 PM

Today's Beauty



by Brett Rogers, 6/28/2010 11:27:43 PM

Today's Beauty



by Brett Rogers, 6/29/2010 3:36:29 PM

Today's Beauty



by Brett Rogers, 6/30/2010 10:33:51 PM