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Blog Posts for December 2011

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Where I'm Smarter than Hillary Clinton


About Egypt, Hillary said, at the end of January this past year:

"Real stability only comes from the kind of democratic participation that allows people to feel that they are being heard. It is not a question of who retains power - that should not be the issue. It is how are we going to respond to the legitimate grievances expressed by the Egyptian people and chart a new path. We want to see free and fair elections and we expect that that will be one of the outcomes of what is going on in Egypt right now."
I said, about two weeks later:
"If the government there actually turns out to be a democracy and run by its own people, odds are that Egypt will no longer be an ally and won't believe in individual freedom.

"While I support self-rule by people, the basis of that support is a desire for individuals to be free to choose their own direction in life. Tyranny by a majority that results in restricted freedom for the minority is not a government based in freedom. While it might be democracy, its underlying principle is not liberty.

"Pushing for democratic change in a region where the people do not embrace freedom is far more likely to turn out badly than it is to turn out well - for that nation's people and for the US."

I have to give credit to Hillary - she wanted to stand by Mubarak, which would have preserved for us an ally and would likely maintain what little freedom the people had, but her boss wanted "change" to come to Egypt. The problem is that neither Hillary or Obama believe much in freedom, and therefore don't understand how democracy can succeed for the people.

Oh... and the problem now surfacing?

The party formed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's mainstream Islamist group, appeared to have taken about 40 percent of the vote, as expected. But a big surprise was the strong showing of ultraconservative Islamists, called Salafis, many of whom see most popular entertainment as sinful and reject women’s participation in voting or public life.

Analysts in the state-run news media said early returns indicated that Salafi groups could take as much as a quarter of the vote, giving the two groups of Islamists combined control of nearly 65 percent of the parliamentary seats.

Like I said back then, "So why are we excited about this again?"


by Brett Rogers, 12/1/2011 7:04:00 AM



Every once in while, I look at the Days Alive calculator on my web site here and I think of the lives represented by the numbers.

Think of all that goes into a day - from the time you wake up, get dressed, work, lunch, office chatter, emails, drive, conversations, dinner... really think about those individual moments in any given day.

Now look at the Days Alive list in the upper right corner of my site. Think of what's represented by those numbers.

That's where I go with that. Each of us, making decisions and choices, going about our business the best we know how to do. Almost half a million times, someone has wondered how many days they have been alive, as captured here on my site. That blows my mind.

Some choices are irrevocable - they lead us down a path that forever shapes our lives. Prior to those choices, we ruminate on the spectrum of possibilities before us, and based upon a criteria usually unknown to most, we flip that switch and forward we move - decision made.

Decisions, I think, are mostly lonely.

Each of us has this colorful and elaborate soul hidden from view from the rest of the world, and we reveal it only to a few who either are paying attention or to those who we force it upon. But few see it, and what they do see is a narrow view, limited by the time in which we can reveal ourselves and by the words and gestures available to us.

We, I think, are mostly lonely.

Occasionally, we consider our lives and the impacts and meanings we have. A friend of mine calls this "Continued Relevance." I think my Days Alive calculator captures a good number of people in those reflective moments.

It makes me remember that right now is all I have. Right now, I'm either assisting my relevance in this life, or I'm not. Time wasted... what a horrible, horrible thing.

I'm reminded to squeeze the utmost out of every moment, which is what I must do with every choice and decision. How do I spend my time? Because, after all, it is exactly that - my time - spent alone, going about my business as I choose, from the time I wake up, get dressed, work, lunch, chat with co-workers, email, drive, conversations, dinner...


by Brett Rogers, 12/2/2011 5:24:19 AM

Verizon 4G


We're a Verizon family and here in central Iowa, Verizon recently took us to 4G. It was at that time that several problems began to occur.

A while back, I bought a network extender. It works worked great by using our Internet to do clean VOIP. But it turns out that the network extender doesn't do 4G.

I bought the network extender because the dude in the glasses had never been to our former house, where call signal wasn't reliable. Since we've moved, the call signal improved slightly, but that was a moot point since I had the network extender. Then 4G came along...

We now live on the outskirts of the Des Moines area, and so my phone was constantly switching between 3G and 4G. As a result, my phone conversations have been a bit rocky and several have just flat out dropped.

So after some research, I set my phone to do CMDA only, and not CMDA/LTE. The result? 5 bars in my home again.

We also noticed that our texts were not always going out. Tamara has had this problem a lot. I think we're going to do this with all of our phones.

And if Verizon catches this post, like LG caught my cell phone art posts, y'all need to figure this out. For the amount of money we're spending for our five smartphones, unlimited calling plan, and MiFi, we deserve better for the money we pay.


by Brett Rogers, 12/3/2011 8:53:33 AM

Simplicity Comes Hard


That screenshot right there took about a week to engineer, and 95% of it went into the design of the architecture that allows it to happen.

Here's the question it resolves:

How do I make it so that organizations can securely capture payments through 247Toolset without requiring them to buy a secure site certificate while preserving the look of their web site and making it super simple for the person making the payment by giving them as many options as possible?

All for just $20 a month...

That screen right there is quite likely the reason 247Toolset will break through. Nobody offers that solution that inexpensively and still makes a profit. Except my little company.


by Brett Rogers, 12/4/2011 9:56:39 PM

Ron Paul's Third Party Run


Who said this?

"We do agree New York is a wonderful place to go at Christmas. We are sure two average Americans like Speaker Gingrich and Donald Trump will have a wonderful time picking out gifts for their wives. We suggest a place called Tiffany's, we her it is quite nice this time of year and given their celebrity status they can probably get special deals and $500,000 lines of credit."
Here are your choices:
  1. New York Occupied
  2. Nancy Pelosi
  3. The Ron Paul Campaign
This is why I increasingly think that Ron Paul will run third party. He's never disavowed running third party, and when you're running for the Republican nomination and you sound like the Occupoop movement, you're using the wrong platform to promote your views.

Me, I tend to think that there's nothing wrong with people who have lots of money. I'm certainly not going to poke at people for being successful. When a Republican does that, it's a bit scary.

Plus, Ron Paul has said that he thinks Occupied is a "very healthy movement." The hell it is. It's about as anti-capitalism as it gets, and Ron Paul certainly shows some anti-capitalist tendencies.

I agree with some of what Paul says, but I vehemently disagree with some of what he says as well.

Given the strength of his own healthy movement, and given his distaste for Gingrich - who looks increasingly like the nominee to me - I'd say odds are good that Ron Paul runs third party. And if so, I think that's Obama's worst nightmare because I think Paul will attract far more disaffected Democrats than Republicans as a third party candidate.

He just might be Obama's Ross Perot.


by Brett Rogers, 12/6/2011 7:03:23 AM

To Answer the Question...


I haven't written much about Ron Paul, but my last post prompted a few email exchanges about him.

Why is it that I could never support Ron Paul?

A) It's like listening to a 9/11 Truther.

He said:

Just think of what happened after 9/11. Immediately before there was any assessment there was glee in the administration because now we can invade Iraq.

Nobody in the administration got away from having a friend, colleague, or relative killed or directly affected by 9/11.


I'll tell you this, if you're a Ron Paul supporter after knowing that about him, and you still support him, wtf...

After speaking at the first tea party in Des Moines, the Truthers (hereafter known as the "imbecile brigade") started talking to us and asking us questions about whether we were going to ask about 9/11 from our government. As it happened, Craig, one of my cohorts who helped me paint the 8' x 12' Declaration of Independence sign we created, did his master's paper on the destruction of the towers from a mechanical engineer's perspective. He found himself debating the imbecile brigade who spewed repeated "fact" after repeated "fact" and Craig dispensed of each one with physics and chemistry. It was impressive, and it was sad. Because they clung to their ignorance in the face of truth.

Ron Paul is like that when it comes to 9/11. It's offensive and bewilderingly dumb. There are a lot of smart people who buy into his nonsense, but that's what we get for trusting "smart" politicians.

B) He embraces the Occupoop movement. You can read about that in my previous post, if you haven't already. I'm a capitalist because I'm a freedomist. Though he's written of capitalism in the past, no capitalist would embrace the Occupoopers. That's a huge and odious oxymoron.

C) What Ron Paul would do domestically isn't worth the demise of Israel. Love many things about Ron Paul's domestic agenda, but Israel needs our devoted friendship as the only freedom-loving democracy in the Middle East. Shrugging at Iran and working to fathom their motivations is dumb. 9/11 was not a crime. It was terrorism. Don't know the difference?

A crime is what happens when someone attacks an individual or a group to profit for self-interest.

Terrorism is what happens when someone attacks an individual or a group to scare the living shit out of the entire population and is willing to martyr themselves for the cause.

To equate the two and use the word "crime" to describe 9/11 is to be without any clue as to the motivations of anyone who orchestrated or operated in the 9/11 attacks. Really. If you can do that, you're hopelessly ignorant and don't deserve any position of leadership, least of all President of the United States. Gaza is "like a concentration camp?" Hardly.

Yet if you walk down Gaza City's main thoroughfare -- Salah al-Din Street -- grocery stores are stocked wall-to-wall with everything from fresh Israeli yogurts and hummus to Cocoa Puffs smuggled in from Egypt. Pharmacies look as well-supplied as a typical Rite Aid in the United States.
Ron Paul is the wrong guy as a supplier of facts regarding Israel.

I'm as anti-big-government-spending as you can be, but spending money in support of Israel to foster freedom-loving democracy in the Mid-East is money well-spent. If Israel goes away, as Iran wants it to do, then we lose influence in the region, which we need.

He's been right about many things, and his agenda would be correct in many ways. But he's completely the wrong person to nominate for the presidency, and that's why I can't vote for him.

I disagree with everyone in the GOP field on something (Newt's big government solutions tendencies, Mitt's big government everything, Bachmann's and Santorum's stance on implementing social statism, Perry's inability to clearly enunciate limited government and increasingly faith-pandering campaign, etc) but I can live with them.

Economy and defense are huge for me, and embracing Occupoop and not understanding who your enemies are throws Ron Paul completely out of the mix - so there's my answer. Besides - I think he's likely to go third party anyway...


by Brett Rogers, 12/10/2011 6:08:15 PM



The other day, I had one of my 247 clients over to the house for a strategy session on how to get their fundraising campaign going. During that time, they showed me their campaign placard that they're getting printed for the Iowa Caucus.

"What do you think?"

"It looks nice."

"Do you think it will help us?"

"Not at all."

"Why not?"

"Because it will be mixed in with 15 other pamphlets and cards from other campaigns. People don't like to read. Their eyes will glaze over like a donut."

"Well, what would you do?"

So I shared with them a sample idea and then started running with it. We looked into pricing for it and discovered that they could do it pretty cheap. They were excited.

If they choose to use the idea, I'll blog about it later and the response that they got from it, but really... for all of these campaign consultants who churn out stuff that looks like everyone else's stuff, not only is it unremarkable, but it's not fun.

At the 3rd District convention last year, I created the Funk Activity Book, which turned out to be a big hit. It had puzzles and games in it that were relevant to Dave's message, like this excerpt.

I had fun making it, and the people who received it had fun reading and working it.

Whatever you do in political marketing, it's gotta be fun, meaningful, memorable. Or don't do it. You just waste a lot of money printing stuff that no one will read otherwise. You've only got a few shots to make an impression, and it's hard to unmake an unfavorable impression (see Rick Perry's debates).


by Brett Rogers, 12/17/2011 6:27:47 PM

Some Decisions are Hard


Every once in a while, you run into a set of circumstances that forces you to make a decision where no outcome is ideal.

When that happens, the only thing you can do is look the facts full in the face, consider your options and outcomes, and then choose.

Then, act on the decision, without ambivalence.

What usually hurts people is the ambivalence, which typically happens when you try to avoid discomfort after the decision. Except that it usually prolongs the discomfort - and since the facts didn't change, the decision usually remains the same. It just sucks worse after hemming and hawing.

It's just important to remember what Stephen Covey said about the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern.

Of all the good suggestions in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, "Habit 1: Be Proactive" is particularly useful when you feel powerless against life's forces. Covey recommends examining what you can do instead of focusing on worries over which you have no control.

First, notice all your concerns. Then, among those concerns, determine where you can take action. Think of ways to be more proactive and address the things you can do something about. Your circle of influence will enlarge and your circle of concern will shrink.

Focusing on what you can do is proactive and empowering.

That set of circumstances dumped in your lap is often the result of someone's choices, whether your own or those of another. When it's the choices of someone else, it's wasted energy to be mad about it. Not in your control or influence. Instead, you focus on what you can do, make the best decision you can, and then go. Movement is empowering.


by Brett Rogers, 12/18/2011 10:34:55 PM



I can't stand his anti-gay politics, but I'd vote for Rick Santorum in a heartbeat for this statement:

"Blue-collar workers, lower-income workers, are having a harder and harder time rising.

"[Occupy Wall Street activists] talk about income inequality. I'm for income inequality. I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.

"President Obama is for income equality. That's socialism. It's worse yet, it's Marxism. I'm not for income equality. I'm not for equality of result - I'm for equality of opportunity."

Would Romney ever say that? Nope - but he believes it. He doesn't believe that others deserve his wealth. He's just a big chicken who hides behind consultants.

Would Ron Paul say that? Nope... he loves him some Occupoopers.

Would Perry say that? Nope... couldn't articulate it.

Bachmann and Gingrich might have said that. Cain certainly would have said that.

Good on Rick Santorum.


by Brett Rogers, 12/21/2011 9:14:58 AM

Giving Up Classified Info? Patriotic!


All of his old newsletters aside, with their indefensible tripe, if anyone is a Ron Paul supporter and thinks that giving up classified info to Wikileaks that can get Americans hurt or killed is "patriotic," well, I think the word doesn't mean at all what you think it means.

Good gravy... I have to think that the smart people who have supported Ron Paul in the past just didn't know this stuff.


by Brett Rogers, 12/21/2011 1:28:22 PM

Goodbye GoDaddy


Regarding their support for SOPA, GoDaddy is getting creamed in their own forums, and deservedly so.

An absolutely idiotic business move on their part. They're stabbing their customers in the back with this support.

I highly recommend that you move your domains elsewhere if you have domains with GoDaddy, and that you urge others to do the same.

ETC: GoDaddy has pulled their support of SOPA.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 12/23/2011 7:28:22 AM



Maybe I'm not very sophisticated, but it seems to me that the very first function of any election campaign is to make sure that you're on the ballot.

Michelle Bachmann isn't on Virginia's primary ballot.
Rick Santorum isn't on Virginia's primary ballot.
Jon Huntsman isn't on Virginia's primary ballot.
Rick Perry isn't on Virginia's primary ballot.
Newt Gingrich isn't on Virginia's primary ballot, and it's his goddammed home state.

Only Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are on Virginia's ballot.

Gingrich also isn't on the ballot in Missouri.

Mighty debating skills do not an army make, and if you're gonna run for president, you need an army.


by Brett Rogers, 12/24/2011 11:58:56 AM

How I'm Going to Vote at the Iowa Caucus


Like most others these days, my biggest concern is government spending. Less government is better government is more freedom is a stronger America.

So I am likely to vote for the person who aims to cut government spending the most and stands the greatest chance of implementing their plan.

You want to know who that is? Read their plans, or, their lack of plans.

Michele Bachmann

Rick Santorum

Rick Perry

Newt Gingrich

Jon Huntsman

Mitt Romney

Ron Paul

In synopsis:

Michele Bachmann doesn't have a detailed plan, and only vaguely discusses the problem.

Rick Santorum doesn't have a detailed plan, and only talks about his past achievements.

Rick Perry has a very detailed plan: he wants to cap spending at 18% of the GDP.

Newt Gingrich, surprisingly, doesn't really talk about spending. Other than promising to balance the budget, that's it.

Jon Huntsman doesn't talk about spending at all.

Mitt Romney has a detailed plan and wants to cap spending at 20% of the GDP.

Ron Paul wants to cuts $1 trillion in spending during the first year and eliminate five cabinet departments.

Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, and Newt Gingrich are out. They don't have any detailed plans about reducing government spending.

Who can implement their plan?

Mitt Romney - he can likely implement his plan, but he created RomneyCare, and that required money from the federal government to work. Based on his history, he didn't cut spending as a governor. He just got creative with it.

Rick Perry - he can likely implement his plan, and as governor of Texas, balanced the budget and in some ways reduced spending, but mostly relied on job creation as a means to finance the state forward.

Ron Paul - not a leader in Congress and not influential in getting things passed, his aggressive anti-spending agenda is admirable and likely correct in its goals, but not really something he can muster the votes to pass. There's often a difference between being right and being influential, and Ron Paul more often repels his fellow Congressfolk than attracts them.

In synopsis:

Three Republican candidates of seven have detailed plans for cutting spending in a year where cutting spending is the highest priority for voters.

3 out of 7. Good god, that's dumb.

Of the three that remain:

Mitt Romney isn't very aggressive and doesn't have a history that indicates anything but smoke and mirrors.

Ron Paul is aggressive, but doesn't have the proven capacity for leadership that he would need to pass his agenda. Great theory only.

That leaves Rick Perry. In my opinion, it's not aggressive enough, but he has a track record for it that even the Washington Post had to acknowledge. So Rick Perry gets my vote.


by Brett Rogers, 12/27/2011 11:19:21 AM

Dave Funk's Home Run



by Brett Rogers, 12/31/2011 6:22:36 PM