Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Hillary Cheers The Loudest For Cruz and Kasich Dropping Out!

Now before all you #NeverTrump people starting hitting the like and share button, or you #CruzCrew starting leaving nasty comments hear me out.  Hillary is not cheering because she is licking her chops to go up against Trump in the general election.  In fact I think she is in a state of panic.  She is running to every closet in all her homes pushing those skeletons back as far as they can go.  She’ll be hiding them behind rhetoric of how horrible of a woman hating racist Trump is all with the help of her super pack the media.  It’s not that Trump is unbeatable or easily beaten.  She is cheering because she knows she is not going to have the full power of the Republican voice against her.  She is cheering because the math says if the #NeverTrump folks jump ship I am home free regardless of any email scandal or Benghazi cover up.

We as Republicans have yet to learn the secret sauce of the Democrats and that is unity.  We refuse to put aside difference (big or small) and stand united.  We quarrel and point fingers just lining the pockets of our true opponents, the DNC, with sound bite after sound bite, and story after story.  We have started the last to Presidential elections with more possible candidates then we have fingers.  We bicker and fight and pander until we alienate ourselves from ourselves.  We make drastic claims and dig up every ounce of dirt until we have vested our faith and vote to a candidate and not the goal, which is getting back into the White House.  When the dust settles we see a much deeper and drastic line in our party then we have had over the past two elections against the democrats, which gave us Barak Obama.  I wonder if we will learn.

I am not a Trumpster by any means as he has said and done things I just don’t agree with.  However I would be a bald face liar if I said there was any candidate that hasn’t.  I am reminded of a decision I had to make when dealing with a situation at work.  I was in immediate need of a vendor that could provide a service that I couldn’t do myself.  The internal vetting and due diligence processes would have taken too long to find a new vendor so I was forced to look at the vendors we already had on the books.  It became quickly apparent only two companies could provide the service I needed and neither of them would have been my 1st or even 5th choice.  Needless to say the company was in need right now so a choice had to be made.  I did the classic pro’s and con’s assessment.  Hells even pulled out my Green Belt and Post-it notes. Through all of that, when it came down to it I felt the same as I did before, unsure and unhappy.

I had to choose and choose fast because we were on a path that needed to be course corrected and this service was unavoidable. So in the end I sat down with my team and talked about not the pros but the cons.  Not our feeling, or our emotions, or our ideals, but the cons of each vendor.  In the end we had a clear vendor that we could not go with, and in the process selected the vendor we would go with.  We knew there were still sore spots and possible pitfalls, but we were ready for them and prepared to handle them.  We knew we would have to hold that vendor accountable, and be more then mindful of how they did their work.  This exercise as painful and as hard as it was resulted in us being able to move forward.  To be prepared and to ensure we never got here again.  We achieved our goals and in the process became better managers and the vendor became better as well.

If I have to spell out the correlation there then… well you’re probably a Sanders supporter.  We have to remember in life it isn’t always about getting our way.  It is about getting the best we can with what we are given.  If we refuse to see that common sense logic then we are sure to see another Clinton in the White House.  She is someone that plans to build off of and carry on Obama’s legacy.  Someone that is willing to let our true patriots dies with no sense of ownership or remorse.  Someone that will use every ounce of power she has to change the very Constitution this great nation was born from.  So if you are ok with that then by all means, write in someone’s name, vote for a 3rd party, or refuse to vote at all.  However do it knowing that the Democrats will not. Whether Bernie or Hillary they will be at the poles, united and voting against us.  Facts are facts and numbers are numbers and that is a formula where we can’t win.  So stop writing your post November “Blame Trump” speech and stand straight in front of the mirror and tell it to yourself if you refuse to stand up against Hillary in any and every way possible.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Election 2016 Is Not About Donald Trump

Contrary to what you might believe and what the media (left and right) might be telling you the upcoming 2016 election is not about Donald Trump.  It's not about Hilary's email server.  Heck it’s not even about Republican verse's Democrat.  This election is about the preservation of our Liberty.  It is under attack from every angle and every direction.  It is driven by the narratives that we are told are important and many Americans are buying it hook, line, and sinker. I am conservative in my views when it comes to government and spending. I am more libertarian when it comes to my views on personal freedoms, and I am Christian when it comes to my core beliefs.  I believe that Liberty is at the epicenter of all of those things.  Whether we call it “freewill” when speaking of God’s gift of choice, or the Bill of Right’s when referring to government, liberty is what drives us to be more then what we are today.

Before I go further in my explanation of why our liberty is at stake in 2016, let’s take a minute to truly understand the concept and definition of Liberty.  Liberty is defined by Merriam-Webster as the state or condition of people who are able to act and speak freely, the power to do or choose what you want to, a political right.  Reread that one more time and mull it over for a second.  Liberty is not a thing it’s a state of being.  It is a right of existence without persecution or constraints.  Yet in that part alone we see the waters get muddied.  People see liberty as a right of equality or a get out of jail free card to pursue whatever it is you want WITHOUT consequence.  This is what inspires statements of “it’s not fair”, or “it’s my right” to seep out of the lips of those that don’t respect the foundation of what our liberties were built on.
President Abraham Lincoln said “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” This might be one of the simplest but most powerful quotes made by a President.  It specifically defines the greatness of our country.  To put it into today’s term it is our countries Mission statement.  The idea that we all have equal rights to Liberty through our creation, in other words we are born with it.  This statement is timeless and rings true today.  However we have perverted it through big government and entitlements. Let me explain.
First let’s talk about Big Government.  This is the idea that more regulations, restrictions, agencies, and more oversight will level the playing field for everyone.  We see it in small and large examples and this administration has exacerbated this more than any before it.  We have seen the reach of government extend into our small businesses, our right to believe as we want, and even into our kid’s lunch pails. We have seen large government programs and legislation that affects the many to help the few.  Democracy is corrupted today by political correctness, lobbyist group, and super packs.  It’s the ability to sway to right decision for most American to cater to the money and influence of a few.  We see government try to legislate equal results for everyone not equal opportunity.  Results are strictly and whole-heartily dependent on the person.  We have seen stories of people coming from poverty to become wealthy, or from the projects to live in mansions.  They take the opportunities given to them and run with them, or if need be create their own opportunities. 
Here is a case in point of government over reach that negatively impacted the majority while positively and unjustly rewarding the minority.  In 2009 under the Obama administration we saw government over reach into the credit card industry and impose strong and costly regulation under the disguise of standing up for the consumer against the big bad banks.  This was the Credit CARD Act of 2009.  In a nutshell this act prevented the banks from charging or limiting fees and penalties to consumers.  Man that sounds good so how is that bad?  Well the people most positively impacted from this Act were those that are delinquent, over their credit limit, or have had their cards revoked.  I worked in the credit card industry during the time this was passed.  The supplier I worked for was a low prime to subprime issuer of cards.  This means we expected to have a higher rate of people going pass due then some of our competitors and definitely then the market average.  However even at our worse times (between Nov and Feb) we saw our delinquency rates no higher than 11%.  That means that 89% of our risky portfolio was current and paying as agreed.  However when the regulations said you can no longer penalize the non-payers (by using the term and conditions outlined in their contracts small print or not) it threw off every issuer’s business strategy.
Here were the results.  This did not help those that were delinquent as we saw absolutely no uptick in their payment patterns.  What we saw was issuer’s raise interest rates across the board.  Yes those 89% had to start paying more to compensate for those 11% that continued with their same, now non-penalized, behavior.  Those folks that had a credit card for emergency purposes only and used it very little and paid the balance off as fast as possible saw their credit limit decreased to offset the potential loss numbers the issuers had to account for.  Great card offers to people with great credit started to be less appealing, and 0% interest cards became a thing of the past.  Programs that were once readily available to help people going through tough times became very strict on acceptance.  In other words government stepped in to help those that weren’t helping themselves at the price of those that were.  Wait am I talking about Obamacare now.  Hmmmm
This seems like a perfect transition to talk about the second issue we see attacking our Liberty and that is entitlements. James Madison stated “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”  I think we have blurred the lines of assistance and entitlements so much that they have become more like charity.  Which means it is something given to someone with no expectation of returns or change.  Think of it this way.  When you are walking down the street of almost any major city in the US there are people with signs asking for help.  If you decide to give that person money then you are doing so out of charity and you don’t believe that the dollar or so you hand them will change their life or cause them to better themselves.  In fact many times that money will be used on exactly what got them to the point of holding that sign in the first place.  Use that philosophy alone and think of government programs we have out there now.  If you allow yourself to honest and not influenced by political correctness you cannot help but see that we have moved many programs to fall into the definition of charity.
We have seen unemployment benefits being extended, EBT cards that can be used to buy candy and other junk food.  I have recently seen signs in convenience store windows saying that Monster Energy drinks can now be purchased via EBT cards.  This has turned a program that would once be used as a social safety net into more of a social hammock.  When money is given to someone with no expectation of betterment or return then it is charity.  This is glaringly evident when you  see the Labor Force Participation Rate at an all-time low as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  See chart in which the left indicates the percentage of people working over the age of 16. 

What this means is of the people of the age and ability to work less are doing it.  This is the real number we should be looking at when talking about unemployment.  Another great indicator is that Welfare Spending for our government was 2% of the GDP (gross domestic product) during the Great Depression.  From 2009 – 2010 it was at 3.36% and is currently at 2.1%.  So we are being told our economy is so much better but we still have higher welfare number then the Great Depression?

This is after the constant passing of legislation for “fairness”, the extension of unemployment benefits, and a horde of executive actions.  You cannot legalize prosperity, however you can most definitely legislate dependency.  Here is a truly scary fact that should have us all seriously taking a look at our elected officials and asking the question of HOW CAN THIS LAST AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO STOP IT!!  For every 1.65 persons working in the private sector 1 person is on welfare assistance, and when you add in government employees into the mix the goes to 1.25 taxpayers for every 1 person being paid in part or full by taxes.  Read more here.

So what does all this mean?  It means WAKE UP FOLKS!  Stop being force fed the narrative from media outlets.  This election is about gaining back our Liberty and freeing ourselves from the hold that government has inserted (un-Constitutionally in many cases) on our lives.  This isn’t about a Billionaire, or an email server, or same sex marriage.  This is about our abilities to make our own choices, good or bad.  Whether we have great successes and stupendous blunders it is our right to have the opportunity to do so.  Stand up together and remember the words of Liberty that found our country, the men who died to protect it, and realize the there is an all-out attack on it as we speak.  It isn’t an attack from a foreign power but from those we have elected that are either involved directly in the fight or sitting idly by watching it happen.  So when you go to cast your vote in 2016 think of one thing and one thing only.  Who stands for my Liberty, and check the box by that name. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cigar Review: Egg by Drew Estates

Here is what our friends at Famous Smoke say:

You'll need 2 full hours to get through this baby. The 'Egg' is a true one-of-a-kind cigar made from a 4-nation blend that jam-packed into this rotund, savory bomb.  Beginning creamy and smooth, Egg explodes at its center with deep, rich tasting complexity.  A must-try for the adventurous smoker.

Famous Smoke has not yet rated this cigar.

A New Year, and a New Smoke

     As Smoking Seth and I were exchanging Christmas gifts, he handed me a wrapped, rectangular package.  I knew it had to be good, just by the giant grin on his face.  As I unwrapped it, the name on the box beneath the wrapper jumped out at me:  "1 EGG, DREW ESTATE, Esteli, Nicaragua."  Seth's silly grin moved to my face as I remembered having seen the Drew Estate Egg cigar online.  I quickly opened the box and stared at a peculiarly shaped behemoth.  It looked like a small snake had swallowed a big mouse and it was stuck right in the middle.  I took it out and gave it a sniff and passed it around the room for everyone to admire.

     Out of the box, the cigar had a light wrapper, was not particularly oily, was relatively smooth and had a little give on the squeeze.  From what I remembered, this is not a cigar from any of their infused lines, so I did not expect a fragrance other than the pungent aroma of quality tobaccos.  As I was contemplating when I could light this bad boy up, Seth reminded me that this cigar is meant to be a 2-hour smoke.  I would have to wait until we got to Branson, Missouri, and smoke it while celebrating the New Year.

     Seth, I, and our wives were spending the New Year in Branson and decided to make smoke-friendly Waxy O'Shea's Irish Pub our haunt for the evening.  Waxy's was hopping with an 80's-era live band, and a room full of eager patrons.  With the song from the Lion King in my head, I lifted my EGG from its box and high into the air for all to see.  The generous people who had shared their table with us gasped and looked upon it with love and awe and everyone in the room held their breath in anticipation as I clipped the end, toasted the foot, and took the first draw.

     Now, it may not have been quite that dramatic, but there WAS a GREAT deal of cigar envy in the room that night.  The EGG was pointed at, stared at, asked about, and met with admiration (and a little condemnation) as I lit it up and began my EGGsperience.  Throughout the evening, and through MANY Long Island Teas, shots, and whatever else may have been set in front of me, the EGG was my companion, providing a quiet respite from dancing with my beautiful wife on the noisy dance floor.  What a great evening!

     Now, about the EGG.  The draw was easy and light and produced a mountain of smoke.  I got a great ash from the first half of the cigar, having to make an effort to knock it off so I wouldn't perchance to drop it on my wife, myself, my drinks, or any passing patrons.  The taste was mild and smooth, not complex, but pleasant.  The cigar remain lit as I moved to the "Mountain in the Middle," and stayed lit until about the midpoint.  Towards the middle of the cigar I began having some trouble.  Mind you, this is about an hour or more into the cigar...and into my drinks - we were both well-lit at this point - but my Connecticut wrapper began to fall apart.  It started as cracks, then began to tear, and then started to stick to my lips.  Shortly thereafter, the wrapper began to crumble along the full remaining length and I was forced to kill it off.  This was very unfortunate as I still had a full third or more of the cigar to go, and it wasn't even midnight yet.
Overall, the evening was better than the EGG, but the awesomeness of the EGG paired very well with a blow-out of a New Years Celebration, the likes of which I hadn't had in many years.

The numbers:

Burn:  85
Consistency:  80
Draw:  85
Appearance:  99
Taste:  80
Construction:  40

Overall:  75

The Suggestion:  This is a lot of cigar for a lot of fun.  Don't go into this thinking it is just a novelty to smoke with the guys during the game, but bring it out when the night is going to be a production and you need the props to be THE PIMP in the room.  You will get a lot of attention while you enjoy a mild cigar that looks like it would choke a horse..