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We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to tell a story begging the listener to say - and to feel - 'Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as alone as you thought.'
-- John Steinbeck

Blog Posts for January 2012

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Caucus Day


I may vote strategically today...

ETC: Nah. Perish the thought.


I played sergeant-at-arms last night at my precinct here in Johnston, where the vote tally was:


There was a Japanese film crew who video'd me counting the vote afterward. A film crew from Switzerland was there also. All this attention gathered into Iowa, evidently, from around the world.

I got to chat it up with Rick Perry's comptroller, Susan Combs, from Texas. While I gathered signatures for Tom Latham's fight against Leonard Boswell, she and I talked. She's as tall as I am, and a rancher in the desert in Texas.

As I awoke to the final vote in Iowa, where Romney won by 8 votes over Santorum, the only thing I can think of is that Romney has this sewn up. He'll win in New Hampshire, certainly. South Carolina is the question. With Perry reassessing his campaign, if Perry throws behind Santorum, that could keep the race viable, but Santorum needs money and people beyond Iowa, and doesn't have much of either right now.

Craig Romney spoke for his dad at our precinct. Nice kid, the youngest of the Romney clan I think I heard. Obviously his dad won the night, but it's crazy to think that only eight votes were the difference.

Nobody stood to speak for Gingrich or Bachmann. No ground game for either. Both should drop out, but I'm hearing that they won't. Newt is pissed at Romney, so it'll be interesting to watch. Personally, I wouldn't want Newt pissed at my campaign.

But all of this means, in the most practical sense, that I get my phone back. The 30+ robocalls a day will stop now. Iowa's quadrennial 15 minutes are up.


by Brett Rogers, 1/3/2012 6:55:28 AM

Good on Ron Paul


I've dumped a lot on Ron Paul, but listening to the Meet the Press debate today, Ron Paul was asked: "A lot of people in America believe that health care is a right. Is that true?"

His answer, paraphrased:

We hear a lot about about gay rights, women's rights, minority rights - I disagree with that. There is only one right: the right to your liberty.
I agree wholeheartedly. Well said.

And to more explicitly answer the question, I say: no one has a right to health care. That would either require the health care provider to give your their service for free or at a severe discount, or it would require taking money from others involuntarily to pay for your needs.

You have a right to what you and your family can afford.

Personally, I think that if we can get student loans to improve ourselves in the long term, I don't see why we can't get health loans for expensive treatments not covered by insurance to improve ourselves in the long term.


by Brett Rogers, 1/8/2012 10:54:40 AM



Mitt's about to come under attack for his time at Bain. It's a great time to have this conversation - it's an important one.

Bain Capital was co-founded by Mitt Romney. From the article:

Bain Capital manages approximately $66 billion in assets, and has founded, acquired, or invested in hundreds of companies including AMC Entertainment, Aspen Education Group, Brookstone, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Domino's Pizza, DoubleClick, D&M Holdings, Guitar Center, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Sealy, The Sports Authority, Toys R Us, Unisource, Warner Music Group and The Weather Channel.
That's Mitt Romney's world.

When some people think capitalism, they think of firms like Mitt's that aggregate the money of investors for the purpose of acquiring companies and managing them to a profit for the investors.

Sometimes, when running a business, you hire people for the long-term benefit of the owners. Sometimes, for the long-term benefit of the owners, you fire people. A business belongs to the owners - obviously. It's their company, or they wouldn't be the owners.

At some point, someone started the company, built it to success, and decided to either:

  1. Take it public.
  2. Open it up to private investment.
  3. Sell it.
Had one of those things not happened, Bain wouldn't have been able to become an owner, whether in full or in part. The previous owners found enough benefit in Bain's offer to accept it.

Bain didn't just take over the business against the wishes of the majority of the owners. They either acquired enough stock to own the majority of a company, or they made the owners an offer attractive enough to acquire all or part of the company.

In other words: it was a voluntary transaction, and the owners have every right to do with their company as they choose. They own it. It's their company.

What's not a voluntary transaction: when Obama took over GM.

As I watch Newt Gingrich take on Mitt Romney by releasing a video entitled, "When Mitt Romney Came to Town," I'm glad that he is. Why? Because this is Obama's intended campaign theme for the election. Obama plans to put the capitalism on trial, with Mitt Romney as Exhibit A. Newt is doing now what Obama intends to do later, and if Romney doesn't have a good and authentic answer to it, then he will deservedly fail.

Am I proud of what Newt is doing? Oh no. Newt took a deep dive into the class warfare pool. To hell with him for doing so.

Anybody who reads this knows that I am no fan of Mitt Romney, but not because of his time at Bain. He authored Romneycare, the blueprint for ObamaCare. To hell with him too for that.

I'm not deeply invested in what Romney did at Bain, and if any of it was illegal or used the government to take property from someone, then he ought to go to jail. But if it was legal, and I suspect it was or it would have come up in his runs for Senate, Governor, and President in 2008, then fair enough.

Capitalism is a free market exercise based upon voluntary transactions. Attacking freedom is always worthy of derision, no matter the source. The property of a business owner or business owners is theirs and theirs alone. As long as the business is legal and based on voluntary transactions, what the owner does with their business, like with any of their property, is nobody's business.

ETC: Great article on Bain's investments in the Wall Street Journal.

Synopsis: Most of the investments that Bain made were in troubled companies, which makes sense or there wouldn't have been investment opportunity. With troubled companies, you get more risk, but also a better value in the purchase of ownership and greater potential reward when success arrives.

I think I understand to a better degree now why Mitt says that he believes he is the guy for the job. America is, in some ways, like the troubled companies in which Bain specialized. Interesting...



In an exclusive interview outside a Manchester polling place, Ron Paul lashed out at fellow Republicans for making unfair and ignorant attacks on Mitt Romney's business record.

"I think they're wrong. I think they're totally misunderstanding the way the market works," Paul told me. "They are either just demogoging or they don't have the vaguest idea how the market works."


by Brett Rogers, 1/8/2012 1:19:51 PM

Hoo Boy


If you haven't seen the parodies of Rick Perry's "Strong" ad, you're missing out.

One of the worst political ads ever got rightfully juiced by, well, everyone.


1 Comment
by Brett Rogers, 1/10/2012 1:10:51 PM

Implosion Through History


Hmm... the Washington Post gives Newt Gingrich's anti-Romney "King of Bain" documentary four Pinocchios. Lying out the wazoo. Not cool.

You can catch Newt's new book, "Implosion Through History," at Amazon and other retailers this summer. Certainly going to be a blockbuster bestseller.


by Brett Rogers, 1/13/2012 9:56:56 AM

Why Are We Letting Marx Define Business?


Karl Marx coined the phrase, "creative destruction." That the founder of Marxism defined a way in which we see business today deserves rejection. It was coined by Marx to be insulting, and frankly, it is. Marx made the assumption, wrongly so, that I have to destroy what exists to rebuild, thereby ruining the value of what was what was in order to create something new. That narrow view misunderstands what really happens because it relies on the notion of there only being so much value - the pie analogy.

Business enterprise is not an exercise in destruction. It is an exercise of risk and creation.

What really happens in business is very similar to what happened this weekend with my daughter's car, which was broken after a year of driving it around. We tried to fix it, but determined that it would cost too much to keep it going. So we opted to sell it for salvage ($225) and she used that money to buy something that had more more sustainable value.

There are three parties at play here:

1) The owner (my daughter)
2) The buyer of the property owned (the salvage yard)
3) The seller of the new property

Now, if I am Marx, Bari took her broken car and destroyed its value so that she could get something new.

That's ridiculously simplistic and dumb.

What actually happened: Bari maximized the value of her car until she could get no more value from it. She found someone who still saw value in it and sold it to that person voluntarily so that both of them felt good about the transaction. She then used the value of the transaction to assist her purchase of a car from someone else, again voluntarily.

The value of her previous car will go for parts, far beyond the $225 that the salvage yard paid for it, which is good for them. She has a new car, which is good for the previous owner of her new car - he is richer for it. And she has the vehicle she needs, which is great for her.

In other words, value accumulates. There is no pie, where value is fixed and everybody only gets so much of what's available. Bari originally bought the car for $800, drove it for a year, then sold it for $225 to someone who can repurpose it for a different form of value. That's accumulative, not destructive.

All of us work to get the most value we can from what we own and what we do. If my TV is on the fritz, after getting a lot of use out of it, I put it on Craigslist and sell it to someone who finds value in it. They’re better off, I’m better off, and the retailer from which I buy my new TV is better off.

Everyone knows that nothing is permanent, and that jobs are not permanent. But instead we get idiots like Marx who see employers not as good in the temporary employment they create, but rather as evil for the inevitable job loss that happens. That would be like getting mad at Sony because my TV doesn't last forever.

What really happens: the job wouldn't exist at all if someone hadn't gambled to create or purchase a company. That person becomes the owner and the company becomes their property.

Does the business owner not have the right to do with their property as they choose? Or would we let idiots like Marx remove that right from them? And if we do, how many people would then create or purchase companies in that environment? Now that would actually be destructive, and in fact, part of the reason that the economy struggles today is because Obama and crew think like this and provide less and less incentive to business owners to take the risk in creating companies and hiring people.

Instead of celebrating the business owner, boneheads like Marx wrongfully attack them. Marx pisses and moans about the temporary nature of jobs, when he should be delighted that the job exists in the first place.

Business ownership is not "creative destruction," and to allow it to be described in that way only discourages business ownership and misinforms everyone who discusses it in those terms.

How would I phrase it? Perhaps "value opportunity." It depends on whether you perceive value in it, and if so, how much you make of the opportunity to wring value from it. There is value opportunity for the employer, the employee, the customers, the vendor chain, etc, for as long as the business can create the perception of value. When the business owner no longer finds value in the property owned, they can choose to sell it to someone who finds value in it, and then use the proceeds to find something of value to create more opportunity for everyone who can take advantage of the opportunity.

Marx, and those who think like him, can't understand that at all - so why let him define the discussion?


by Brett Rogers, 1/16/2012 7:03:49 AM

Today's Beauty



by Brett Rogers, 1/29/2012 11:01:25 PM

The Other White Meat



by Brett Rogers, 1/30/2012 10:15:16 AM